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'sx^^Oim<p of tM^rotbor 





O S S I A N, 





To which are prefixed, 

We may boldly assign Ossian a pLice among those whose works 
are to last for a^es. 











Tliii poem is complete, and the subject of It, as of moit of Ossian'i 
connpositioiis, tragic;il. In the time of Comhal the son ofTra- 
tlial, and father of the celebrated Fingal, Clessammor the son of 
Thaddu and brother of Moma, Finjjal's mother, was driven by sl 
storm into the river Clyde, on tlie banks of which stood Ealclutha, 
a. town belonging to the Britons between the walls. He was hos- 
pitably received by Reuthainir, the prir.cipal man in the place, 
who gave him Moina his only daughter in marriage. Reuda, the 
ion of Cormo, a Briton who was in love with Moina, came to Reu- 
thamir's house, and behaved haughtily towards Clessammor. A 
quarrel ensued, in which Reuda was killed ; the Britons who at- 
tended him, pressed so hard on Clessammor, that he was obliged 
to throw himself into the C!ydc,'and swim to his ship. He hoist- 
ed sail, and the wind being favourable, bore him out to sea. He 
often endeavoured to return, and carry off his beloved Moina by 
night ; but the wind continuing contrary, he was forced to desist . 

Moina, who had been left with child by her husband, brought forth 
a son, and died soon after. Reuthanair named the child Carthon, 
i. c. * the murnuir of waves,' from the storm which carried off 
Clcssanimorhis father, who was supposed to have been cast away. 
\\ hen Carthon was three years old, Comhal the father of Fingal, 
in one of his expeditions against the Britons, took and burnt Bal- 
clutha, Reuthamir was killed in the attack ; and Carthon was 
carried safe away by hi* nurse, who fled farther into the country 
of the Britons. Carthon, coming to man's estate, was resolved to 
revenge the fall of Balclutha on Comhal's posterity. He set sail, 
from the Clyde, and, falling oa the coast of Morven, defeated two 
of Fingal's heroes, who came to oppose his progress. He was at 
lastjim wittingly killed by his father Clessammor, in a single combat. 
This story is the foundation of the present poem, which opens on 
the night preceding the death of Carthon ; so that what pa«sed be- 
fore is introduced by way of episode. The poem L> addressed to 
Halnna the daughter of Toscar. 

A TALE of the times of old! The deeds of days 
of other years ! 
The murmur of thy streams, O Lora, brings back 
the memory of the past. The sound of thy woods. 
Vol. II. "^ A 

2 carthon: 

Garmallar, is lovely in mine ear. Dost thou not be- 
hold, Malvina, a rock witli its head of heath ? Three 
aged firs bend from its face; green is the narrow plain 
at its feet ; there the flower of tlie mountain grows, 
and shakes its white head in the breeze. The thisdc is 
there alone, and sheds its aged beard. Two stones, 
half sunk in the ground, show their heads of moss. 
The deer of the mountain avoids the place, for he be- 
holds the grey ghost that guards it a, for the mighty 
lie, O Malvina, in the narrow plain of the rock. 

A tale of tlie times of old ! the deeds of days of other 
years ! 

Who comes from the land of strangers, with his 
thousands around him ? the sun-beam pours its bright 
stream before him ; and his hair meets the wind of 
the hills. His face is settled from war. He is calm as 
the evening beam, that looks from the cloud of the 
west, on Cona's silent vale. Who is it but ComhaPs 
son b, the king of mighty deeds ! He beholds his hills 
with joy. And bids a thousand voices rise. Ye have 
fled over your fields, ye sons of the distant land ! The 
king of die world sits in his hall, and hears of his peo- 
ple's flight. He lifts his red eye of pride, and takes 
his father's sword. " Ye have fled over your fields, 
sons of the distant land !" 

Such were the words of the bards, when they came 
to Selma's hails. A thousand lights ^ from the stran- 
ger's land rose, in the midst of the people. The feast 
is spread around ; and the night passed away in joy, 
*' Where is the noble Clessammor <^ V' said the fair hair- 

a It was the opinion of the times, that deer saw the ghosts of the 
dead. To this day, when bea.^ts suddenly start, without any appar- 
ent cause, tl\e vulgar think that they see the spirits of the deceased. 

b Fingal returns here, from an expedition against the Romans, 
which was celebrated by Ossian in a particular poem. 

c Probably wax- lights : which are often mentioned %s carried, a« 
niorg other booty, from the Roman province. 

d Clcssamh mor, ' miglity deeds.' 

A POEM. 3 

cd Fingal. ** Where is die companion of my father, 
in the days of my joy ? Sullen and dark lie passes his 
days in the vale of echoing Lora ; but, behold he comes 
from die hill, like a steed in his strength, who finds his 
companions in the breeze, and tosses his bright mane 
in the wind. Blest be die soul of Ciessammor ; why 
so long from Selma ?" 

*' Returns the chief," said Clcssammor, "in the midst 
of his fame ? Such was die renown of Comhal in the 
battles of his youth. Often did we pass over Carun to 
die land of the strangers ; our swords returned not un- 
stained with blood : nor did the kings of die world re- 
joice. "Why do I remember die batdes of my youth ? 
My hair is mixed with grey. My hand forgets to bend 
the bow : and I lift a lighter spear. O that my joy 
would return, as wlien 1 iirst beheld the maid j the 
white-bosomed daughter of strangers, Moina^ with 
die dark-blue eyes !" 

" Tell," said the mighty TingrJ, " die tale of thy 
youthful days. Sorrow, like a cloud on the sun, shades 
die soul of Clessammor. Mournful are thy thoughts, 
alone, on the banks of the roaring Lora. Let us hear 
the sorrow of thy youth, and the darkness of thy days. 

" It was in the days of peace," replied the great 
Clessanmior, " I came, in my bounding ship, to Bal- 
clutha'sf wails of towers. The wind had roared be- 
hind my sails, and Clutha'sjs streams received my dark- 
bosomed vessel. Three days I remained in Reutha- 
mir's halls, and saw that beam of light, his daughter. 
The joy of the shell went round, and the aged hero 
gave the fair. Her breasts were like foam on the wave, 
and her eyes like stars of light : her hair was dark as 

e Moina, ' soft in temper and person.' ^Ve find the British name* 
in this poem, derived from the Galic, which is a proof that the an- 
cient language of the whole island was one and the same. 

f Balclutha, i. e. the town of Clyde, probably the Alcluth of Bcde. 

g Clutha, or Cluath, the Galic name o' the river Clyde ; the Sig- 
nification of the word is ' bending,' in aliuilon to the winding couric 
of that river. From Clutiia is derived its La>.in name, Gloita. 

4 cartkon: 

the raven's wing : her soul was generous and mild. 
My love for Moina was great j and my heart pour- 
ed forth in joy. 

" The son of a stranger came ; a chief who loved 
the white-bocomed Moina. His words were nriighty 
in the hall. And he often half unsheathed his swora. 
Where, he said, is t'le mighty Comhal, the restless 
v/anderer '» of the heath ? Comes he, with his host, 
to Balclutha, since Ckssammor is so bold ? My soul, I 
replied, O warrior ! burns in a light of its own. I 
stand v/ithout fear in the midst of thousands, though 
the valiant are distant far. Stranger ! thy words are 
mighty, for Clessammor is alone. But my sword 
trembles by my side, and longs to gUtter in my hand. 
Speak no more of Comhal,son of the winding Clutha!" 
" The strength of liis pride arose. We fought ; he 
fell beneath my sv/ord. The banks of Clutha heard 
his fall, and a thousand spears glittered around. I 
fought : the strangers prevailed : I plunged into the 
stream of Clutha. My white sails rose over the waves, 
and I bounded on the dark-blue sea. Moina came to 
the shore, and rolled the red eye of her tears: her dark 
hair flew on the wind ; and I heard her cries. Often 
did I turn my ship ; but the winds of the east prevailed. 
Nor Clutha ever since have I seen, nor Moina of the 
dark-brown hair. She fell on Balclutha ; for I have 
seen her ghost. I knew her as she came through the 
dusky night, along the murmur of Lora : she was like 
the new m.oon seen through the gathered mist : when 
the sky pours down its flaky snow, and the world is 
silent and dark." 

" Raise ', ye bards," said the mighty Fingal, " the 

h The word in the original here rendered ' restless wanderer,' ii 
Scuta, which is the origin of the Scotiof the Romans; an opprobri- 
ous name imposed by the Britons, on the Caledonians, on account of 
the continual incursions into their country. 

j The title of this poem in the origincl is « Duan na nlaoi,' i. e. the 
Poem of the Hymns;' probably on account of its many digressioni 
from the subject, all which are in a lyric uicasure, as thui sonj uf 

A PO£M. 5 

praise of unhappy Moina. Cail her gliosts, with your 
songs, to our hills ; that she niay rest with the fair of 
Morven, the sun-beams of ether days, and the delight 
of heroes of old. I have seen the walls of Balclutha, 
but they were desolate. The lire had resounded in the 
halls; and the voiceof the people is he.'.rd no more. The 
stream of Clutha was removed from its place, by the fall 
of the walls. The thistle shook, there, its lonely head : 
the nioss whistled to the wind. The fox looked out 
from tlie windows ; the rank grass of the wall waved 
round his head. Desolate is the dwelling of Moina, si- 
lence is in the house of her father. Raise the song of 
mourning, O bards, over die land of strangers. They 
have but fallen before us : for, one day, we must fall. 
Why dost thou build die hall, son of the winged days ? 
thou lookest from thy towers to-day ; yet a few years, 
and the blast of the desert comes; it howls in thy empty 
court, and whistles round thy half-worn sliield. And 
let the blast of the desert come ! we shall be renowned 
in our day. The mai-k of my arm shall be in the battle, 
and my name in the song of bards. Raise the song ; 
send round the shell : and let joy be heard in ray hall. 
When thou, sun of heaven, shalt fail ! if thou shalt fail, 
thou mighty light ! if thy brightness isfor a season ; like 
Fingalj our fame shall survive thy beams.'* 

Such was the song of Fingal, in the day of his joy. 
His thousand bards leaned forward from their seats, to 
hear the voice of the king. It was like the m.usic of 
the harp on the gale of the spring. Lovely were thy 
thoughts, O Fingal ! why had not Ossian the strength 
of thy soul ? But thou standest alone, ray father ; and 
who can equal die king of Morven ? 

The night passed away in song, and morning return- 
ed in joy ; the mountains showed their grey heads ; 

Fingal. Fingal is celebrated by the Irish historians for his wisdom 
in making law.s, his poetical genius, and Iiis foreknowlcdgje of events. 
— O'Flaberty goes so far as to say, that Fingal's laws were extant in 
his own time. 

A 3 

6 carthon: 

and the blue face of ocean smiled. The white wave 
is seen tumbling round the distant rock ; the grey mist 
rises slowly from the lake. It came, in the figure of 
an aged man, along the silent plain. Its large limbs 
did not move in steps, for a gliost supported it in mid 
air. It came towards Selma's hail, and dissolved in a 
shower of blood. 

The king alone beheld the terrible sight, and he fore- 
saw the death of the people. He came in silence, to 
his hall ; and took his father's spear. The mail rattled 
on his breast. The heroes rose around. They looked 
in silence on each other, marking the eyes of Fingal. 
They saw the battle in his face, the death of armies 
on his spear. A thousand shields, at once, are placed 
on their arms : and they drew a thousand swords. The 
hall of Selma brightened around. The clang of arms 
ascends. The grey dogs howl in their place. No 
word is among the mighty chiefs. Each marked the 
eyes of the king ; and half-assumed his spear. 

" Sons of Morven," begun the king, " this is no 
time to fill the shell. The battle darkens near us; and 
death hovers over the land. Some ghost, the friend of 
Fingal, has forewarned us of the foe. The sons of the 
stranger come from the dark rolling sea. For, from 
the water, came the sign of Morven's gloomy danger. 
Let each assume his heavy spear, and gird on his fa- 
ther's sword. Let the dark helmet rise on every head; 
and the mail pour its lightning from every side. The 
battle gathers like a tempest, and soon shall ye hear 
the roar of death." 

The hero moved on before his host, like a cloud be- 
fore a ridge of heaven's fire ; when it pours on the 
sky of night, and mariners foresee a storm. On Cona's 
rising heath they stood : the white-bosomed maids be- 
held them above like a grove, and foresaw the death 
of their youths, and looked towai'd the sea with fear. 
The white v/ave deceived tiiem lor distant sails, and 
the tear is on their cheek. The sun rose on the sea, and 
we beheld a distant fleet. LiJ:e the mist of ocean they 

A POEM. 7 

came : and poured their youth upon the coast. The 
chief was among them, hke the stag in the midst of the 
herd. His shieldis studded with gold, and stately strode 
the king of spears. He moved towards Selma ; his 
thousands moved behind. 

" Go, with thy song of peace," said Fingal ; " go, 
Ullin» to the king of swords. Tell him. that we are 
mighty in battle, and that the ghosts of our foes are 
many. But renowned are they who have feasted in my 
halls ! they show the arms k of my fathers in a foreign 
land : the sons of the strangers wonder, and bless the 
friends of Morven's race ; for our names have been 
heard afar ; the kings of the world shook in the midst 
of their people.*' 

Uilin went with his song. Fingal rested on his spear : 
he saw the mighty foe in his armour : and he blest the 
stranger's son. " How stately art thou, son of the sea 1" 
said the king of woody Morven. " Thy sword is a 
beam of mipht by thy side: thy spear is a nr that defies 
the storm. The varied face of the moon is not broad- 
er than thy shield. Ruddy is thy face of youth ! soft 
the ringlets of thy hair ! But this tree may fail ; and 
his memory be forgot ! The daughter of the stranger 
will be sad, and look to the rolling sea ; the children 
will say, " We see a ship ; perhaps it is the king of 
Balclutha." The tear starts from their mother's eye. 
Her thoughts are of him that sleeps in Morven." 

Such were the words of the king, when Ullin came 
to the mighty Carthon : he threvv' down the spear be- 
fore him ; and raised the song of pcr.ce. " Come to 
tlie feast of Fingal, Carthon, from die roiling seal par- 
take the feast of the king, or lift the spear of war. The 
chosts of our foes are many: but renowned are the 
friends of Morven ! Behold that field, O Carthon ; 

k It was a cu«tom among the ancient Scots, to exchange arms 
with their guests, and those arms were preserved long in the differ- 
ent families, as monuments of the frisndsliip which subsisted be- 
tween their ancestors. 

8 carthon: 

many a green hill rises there with, mossy stones and 
rustiing grass : these are the tombs of Fingal's foes, the 
sons ot the rolling sea." 

" Dost thou speak to the feeble in arms," said Car* 
then, " bard of the \voody Morven ? Is my face pale 
for fear, son of the peaceful song ? Why, then, dost 
thou think to darken my soul with the tales of those 
who fell ? My arm has fought in the battle ; my re- 
nown is known afar. Go to the feeble m arms, and 
bid them yield to Fingal. Have not I seen the fallen 
Balclutha ? and shall 1 feast with Comhal's son ? Com- 
hal ! who threw his fire in the midst of my father's 
hall ! I \vas young, and knev/ not tlie cause why the 
virgins wept. The columns of smoke pleased mine eye, 
when they rose above my walls ; I ofien looked back, 
with gladness, when my friends fled along the hill. 
But when the years of my youth came on, I beheld the 
moss of my fallen walls; my sigh arose w^ith the morn- 
ing, and my tears descended with night. Shall I not 
fight, I said to my soul, against the children of my foes ? 
And I will fight, O bardj I feel the strength of my 

His people gathered around the hero, and drew, at 
once, their shining swords. He stands, in the niidst, 
like a pillar of fire, the tear half-starting from his eye : 
for he thought of the fallen Balclutha, and the crowded 
pride of his soul arose. Sidelong he looked up to the 
hill, where our lieroes shone in arms ; the spear trem- 
bled in his hand : and, bending forward, he seemed to 
threaten die king. 

" Shall I," said Fingal to his soul, " meet, at once 
the king : Shall I stop him in the midst of his course, 
before his fame shall arise ? But the bard, hereafter, may 
say, when he sees the tomb of Carthon ; Fingal took 
his thousands, along with him, to battle, before tlie 
noble Cartlion fell. No : bard of the times to come ! 
thou Shalt not lessen Fingal's fame. My heroes will 
fight the youdi, and Fingal behold the battle. If he 
ovejxomcs, I ru-:h, in my sutrgtb, iij^e the rearing 

A POEM. 9 

Stream of Cona. Who of my heroes, will meet the son 
of the rolling sea ? Many are his warriors on the coast : 
and strong is his ashen spear !" 

Cathul 1 rose in his strength, the son of the mighty 
Lorraar: three hundred youths attend the chief, the 
racem of his native streams. Feeble was his arm against 
Carthon ; he fell, and his heroes fled. Connal n resum- 
ed the battle, but he broke his heavy spear : he lay 
bound on the field : and Cartlion pursued his people. 
" Ciessammor 1" said the king" of Morven, " where 
is the spear of thy strength ! Wilt thou behold Connal 
bound ; tliy friend, at the stream of Lora ? Rise, in the 
light of thy steel, thou friend of Comhal. Let the 
youth of Balclutlia feel the strength of Morven's race.'* 
He rose in the strength of his steel, sluking his grisly 
locks. He fitted the shield to his side ; and rushed, 
in the pride of his valour. 

Carthon stood, on that heatliy rock, and saw the he- 
ro's approach. He loved the terrible joy of his face : 
and his strength, in the locks of age. " Shall I lift 
that spear," he said, ** that never strikes but once a 
fbc ? Or shall I, vrith the words of peace, preserve the 
warrior's life? Stately are his steps of age ? lovely the 
remnant of his years. Perhaps it is the love of Moina ; 
the father of car-borne Carthon. Often have I heard, 
that he dwelt at the echoing stream of Lora." 

Such were his v/ords, when Clessammor came, and 
lifted high his spear. The youth received it on his 
shield, and spoke the words of peace. " Warrior of 
the aged locks ! is there no youth to lift the spear ? 

I Cath-'huil,* the eye of battle' 

m It appears, from thij passage, that clanship was established in 
the days of Fingal, though not on the same footing with the present 
tribes in the north of Scotland. 

n This Connal, is very much celebrated, in ancient poetry, for 
his wisdom and valour : there is a small tribe still subsisting in the 
Korth, who pretend they are descended from him. 

o Fiagal did not then know that Carthon was the son of Clessam' 

10 carthon: 

Hast thou no son to raise the shield before his father* 
and to meet the arm of youth ? Is the spouse of thy love 
no more ? or weeps she over the tomb of thy sons ? 
Art tliou of the kings of men ! What will be the fame 
of my sword if thou shalt fall ?" 

" It will be great, thou son of pride !" begun tlie tall 
Clessammor ; " I have been renowned in battle : but I 
never told my nameP to a foe. Yield to me, son of the 
wave, and then thou shalt know that the mark of my 
sword is in many a field." " I never yielded, king of 
spears !" replied the noble pride of Carthon : " I have 
also fought in battles ! and I beheld my future fame. 
Despise me not, thou chief of men ; my arm, my spear 
is strong. Retire among thy friends, and let young he- 
roes fight." ** Why dost thou wound my soul !" re- 
plied Clessammor with a tear. " Age does not trem- 
ble on my hand ; I stiJl can lift the sword. Shall I fly 
in Fingal's sight ; in the sight of him I loved ? Son of 
the sea, I never fled ; exalt thy pointed spear." 

They fought, like two contending winds, that strive 
to roll the wave. Carthon bade his spear to err ; for 
he still thought that the foe was the spouse of Moina. 
He broke Clessammor's beamy spear in twain, and 
seized his shining sword. But as Carthon was binding 
tJie chief, the chief drew the dagger of his fathers. 
He saw the foe's uncovered side j and opened, there, 
a wound. 

Fingd saw Clessammor low: he moved in the sound 
of his steel. The host stood silent in his presence: they 
turned their eyes tov/ards the hero. He came, like the 
sullen noise or a storm, before the winds arise: the hun- 
ter hears it in the vale, and retires to the cave of .the 
rock. Carthon stood in his place : the bJood is rushing 

p To tell one's name to an enemy was reckoned in those day* of 
heroism, a manifest evasion of fighting him : for,if it was once known, 
that friendship subsisted, of old, between the ancestors of the com- 
batants, the battle immediately cea.'Cd : arid the ancient am-'ty of 
their forefatliers was renewed. A man who tells Lis name to his e« 
pemy, was, of cid, an ignouiiniout term fov a coward. 

A POEM. 11 

down his side : he saw the coming clown of the king; 
and his hopes of fame arose q ; but pale was his cheek ; 
his hair flew loose, his helmet shook on high : iheforce 
of Carthon failed ! but his soul was strong. 

Fingal beheld the hero's blood ; he stopt the uplift- 
ed spear. " Yield, king of swords !" said Comhal's 
son ; " I behold thy blood. Thou hast been mighty in 
battle ; and thy fame shall never fade." " Art thou 
the king so far renowned ?" rephed the car-borne Car- 
thon. " Art thou that hght of death, that frightens 
the kings of the world ? But why should Carthon ask ? 
for he is like the stream of his desert ; strong as a river, 
in his course, swift as the eagle of die sky. O that I 
had fought with die king ; that my fame might be 
great in the song ! that the hunter beholding my tomb, 
might say. He fought with the mighty Fingal. But 
Carthon dies unknown ! he has poured out his force on 
the feeble." 

" But diou shalt net die unknown," replied the king 
of woody Mon-en : " my bards are many, O Carthon ! 
and their songs descend to future times. The children 
of the years to come shall hear the fame of Carthon ; 
when they sit round the burning oak", and the night 
is spent in songs of old. The hunter, sitting in the 
heath, shall hear die nastiing blast ; and, raising his eyes, 
behold the rock where Carthon fell. He shall turn to 
his son, and show the place v/here the mighty fought ; 
** There tlie king of Balclutha fought, like the 
strength of a thousand streams." 

Joy rose in Carthon's face : he lifted his heavy eyes. 
He gave his sword to Fingal, to lie within his hall, that 

q Tliis expressioH admits of a double meaning, either that Car» 
then hoped to acquire glory by killing Fingal, or to be rendered fa- 
mous by falling by his hand ; the last is the most probable, as Carthon 
i« already wounded. 

r In the north of Scotland, till very lately, they burnt a large 
trunk of an oak at their festivals; it was called the trunk of the 
ffast. Time had so much consecrated t!ie custom, that tl.C vuljar 
tthouglit it A kk;d wf sacrilege to dijiisc it. 

12 carthon: 

the memory of Balclutha's king might remain on Mor- 
ven. The battle ceased along the field, for the bard 
had sving the song of peace. The chiefs gathered 
round the falling Carthon, aud heard his words with 
sighs. Silent they leaned on their spears, while Bal- 
clutha's hero spoke. His hair sighed on the wind, and 
his words were feeble. 

_" King of Morven," Carthon said, " I fall in the 
midst of my course. A foreign tomb, receives, in youtli, 
the last of Reuthamir's race. Darkness dwells in Bal- 
clutha : and the shadows of grief in Crathmo. But 
raise my remembrance on the banks of Lora, where 
my fathers dwelt. Perhaps the husband of Moina will 
mourn over his fallen Carthon," Kis words reached 
the heart of Clessam.mor : he fell, in silence, on his son. 
The host stood darkened around : no voice is on the 
plains of Lora. Night came, and the moon, from the 
east, looked on the mournful field : but still tlaey stood, 
like a silent grove that lifts its head on GormaJ, when 
the loud v/inds are laid, and dark autumn is on the 

Three days they mourned over Carthon : on the 
fourth, his father aied. In the narrow plain of the 
rock they lie ; and a dim ghost defends their tomb. 
There lovely Moina is often seen ; when the sun-beam 
darts on the rock, and all around is dai-k. There she 
is seen, Malvina, but not like the daughters of the hill. 
Her robes are from the strangers land; and she is 
still alone. 

Fingal v/as sad for Carthon ; he desired his bards ta 
mark the day, when shadowy autumn returned. And 
often did they mark the clay, and sing the hero's 
praise. " Who comes so dark from ocean's roar, like 
autumn's shadowy cloud ? Death is trembling in his 
hand ! his eyes are flames of fire ! Who roars along dark 
Lora's heath ? Who but Carthon, king of swords ? The > 
people fall! see ! how lie strides, like the sullen ghost 
of Morven ! But there he lies, a goodly oak, which sud<- ■ 
ien blasts overturned ! Whenlhalt thou rise, Balclu- 

A POEM. 13 

tha's joy ! lovely car-borne Carthon ! Who comes so 
darkfroni ocean's roar, like autumn's'shadowy cloud ?'* 
Such were the words of the bards in the day of their 
mourning: I have accompanied their voice ; and add- 
ed to their song. My soul has been mournflii for Car- 
thon, he fell in the days of his valour : and thou, O 
Clessammor ! where is thy dwelling in the air? Has the 
youth forgot his wound i And flies he on the clouds, 
with thee ? I feel the sun, O Malvina j leave me to my 
rest. Perhaps they may come to my dreams ; I think 
I hear a feeble voice. The beam ot heaven delights to 
shine on the grave of Carthon : I feel it warm around, 
O ihou that rollest above, round as the shield of my fa- 
thers ! Whence are diy beams, O sun I thy everlast- 
ing liglit ? Thou coraest fo/th, in thy av/ful beauty, and 
the stars hide themselves in the sky ; the moon, cold 
and pale, sinks in the western wave. But thou thyself 
movest alone : who can be a companion of thy course? 
The oaks of the mountains fall : the mountams them- 
selves decay with years ; the ocean shrinks and grows 
again : the moon herself is lost in heaven ; but thou 
art for ever the same ; rejoicing in the brightness of thy 
course. When the world is dark with tempests ; v/hen 
thunder rolls, asd lightning flies ; thou lookest in thy 
beauty, from the clouds, and laughest at the storm. 
But to Ossian thou lookest in vain ; for he beholds thy 
beams no more ; whether thy yellow hair flows on the 
eastern clouds, or thou tremlslest at the gates of die 
west. Eut thou art perhaps like me, for a season, and 
thy years will have an end. Thou shalt sleep io thy 
clouds, careless of the voice of the morning. Exult 
then, O sun, in the strength of thy youth ! Age is darl^ 
and unlovely ; it is like the glimmering light of the 
moon, when it shines through broken clouds, and the 
mist is on the hills ; the bla-it of tiie north is on the 
plain, the traveller shriaks in the midst of his journey. 
Vol. II. B 





Arth the son of Cairbre, supreme king of Ireland, dying, was sue* 
cecdcded by his son Cormac, a minor. CuchuUin, the son of Se- 
iro, who had rendered himself famous by his great actions, and 
who resided, at tlie time, with Connal, the son of Caithhat, in Ul- 
ster, was eiected regent. In the twency-sevcr.tli year of Cuchul- 
Jin's age, and tlie third of his administration, Torlath, tlie son of 
Cantela, one ot the chiefs of that colony of Belgse who were in 
possession of the south of Ireland, rebelled in Connaught, and ad- 
vanced towards Temora, ia order to dethrone Cormac, who, ex- 
cepting Feradath,afcer\^aru!. king of Ireland, was the only one ©f 
the Scottish race of kings existing in that country. CuchuHin 
nisrehed against them, caniC up with them at the lake of Lego, 
and totally defeated his forces Torlath fell in battle by Ciichul- 
lin'i hand; but as he himself pressed too eagerly on the flying c« 
ncmy, lie wasmortally v.'0undedby anarrow, and died the second 
day after. The good fortur.eof Cormac fell with C. chuUin : ma- 
ny set up for th ;mselves, and anarchy and confusion reigned. At 
last Cormac was taken otT; and Cairbar, loid of Atiu, one of the 
competitors for rhe throne, having defeated a";l his rivals, became 
sole monnrch of Ireland. 1 he family of Fingil, who were in the 
inrcrcits of Cormac's family, were resolved to deprive Ciirbar of 
the throne he had usurped. Fingal ariived from Scotland with 
an army, deflated the fiicnds of CaTbar, and re-establiohed the 
family of Cormac in the possession of the kingdom. The prcient 
poem concerns tlie death of CuchulLn. It is, in the ovijinal, 
called ' Duon loch Leij^o,' i. e. The poem of Lego's Lake; and is 
an episode introduced in .1 great poem, which celebrated the last 
expedition of Fingal into Ireland. The greatest part of the poenn 
is lost, and nothing remains but some episodes, whitii a few old 
people in the north of Scotland retain on memory. 

IS the wind on Fingal's shield? Oris the voice of past 
times in my hail ? Sing on, sweet voice, for thou art 
pleasant, and carriest away my night with joy. Sing 
on, O Biagela, daughter of car-borne Sorgian I 

A POEM. 15 

** It is the white wave of the rock, and not Cuchul- 
lin's sails. Often do the mists deceive me for the ship 
of my love ! when they rise round some ghost, and 
spread their grey skirts on the wind. Why dost thou 
delay thy coming, son of the generous Semo ! Four 
times has autumn returned with its v/inds, and raised 
the seas of Togorma^-, since thou hast been in the roar 
ot battles, and Bragela distant far. Hills of the isle of 
mist ! when will ye answer to his hounds ? But ye are 
dark in your clouds, and sad Bragela calls in vain. 
Night comes rolling down ; the face of ocean fails. 
The heath-cock's head is beneath his wing : the hind 
sleeps with the hart of the desert. They shall rise with 
the morning's light, and feed on the mossy stream. 
But my tears return with the sun, my sighs come on 
with the night. When wilt thou come in thine arms, 
O chief of the mossy Tura?" 

Pleasant is thy voice in Ossian's ear, daughter of car- 
borne Sorglan ! but retire to the hall of shells ; to the 
beam of the burning oak. Attend to the murmur of 
tlie sea : it rolls at Dunscaich's walls : let sleep descend 
on thy blue eyes, and the hero come to thy dreams. 

Cuchullin sits at Lego's lake, at the dark rolling of 
waters. Night is around the hero; and his thousands 
spread on die heath : a hundred oaks burn in the midst ; 
the feast of shells is smoking wide. Carril strikes the 
harp beneath a tree ; his grey locks glitter in the beam ; 
the rusding blast of night is near, and lifts his aged hair. 
His song is of the blue Togorma, and of its chief, Cu- 
chullin's friend. " Why art thou absent, Connal, in 
the day of the gloomy storm ? The chiefs of the south 
have convened against the car-borne Cormac ; the 

a Toporma, i. c. ' the island of blue waves,' one of the Hebrldei, ubj -ct to Connal, the son of Caithbat, Cuchul in's friend. He 
is ;ometime« called the son of Colgar, frorrr one of that name who 
vas the founder of the family. Connal, a few days before the news 
of Torlath's revolt came to Temora, had sailed t» Togorma, his na- 
tive !sie ; wncre he was detained by contrary winds during the war 
jn which Cuchullin was killed. 


winds detain thy sails, and thy blue waters roll around 
thee. But Cormac is not alone ; the son of Serno fights 
his batdes. Semo's son his battles fights : the terror 
of the stranger ! he is like the vapour of death 
slowly borne by sultry winds. The sun reddens in its 
presence, the people fall around." 

Such was the song of Carril, when a son of the foe 
appeared ; he threw down his pointless spear, andspoke 
the words of Torlath ; Torlath,thechiefof heroes,from 
Lego's sable surge : he that led his thousands to battle, 
against car-borne Cormac ; Cormac who was distant 
far, in Temora's*^ echoing halls: he learned to bend the 
bow of his fathers ; and to lift the spear. Nor long 
didst thou lift the spear, mildly shining beam of youth ! 
death stands dim behind thee, like the darkened half of 
the moon behind its growing light. Cuchullin rose be- 
fore the bard =, that cam.e from generous Torlath ; he 
offered him the shell of joy, and honoured tlie son of 
songs. *' Sweet voice of Lego !" he said, " what are 
the words of Torlath ? Comes he to our feast or battle, 
the car-borne son of Cantela 'i ?" 

" He comes to thy battle," replied the bard, " to the 
sounding strife of spears. When morning is grey ori 
Lego, Torlath will fight on the plain : and wilt thou 
meet him in thine arms, king of the isle of mist ? Ter- 
rible is the spear of Torlath ! It is a meteor of night. 
He lifts it, and the people fall : death sits in the light- 
ning of his sword." " Do I fear," replied Cuchullin, 
** the spear of car-borne Torlath ? He is brave as a 
thousand heroes } but my soul delights in war. The 

b The royal palace of the Irish kings: Teamhrath, according to 

some of the bards. 

c The bards were the heralds of ancient times; and their persons 
vere sacred on account of their office. In later times they abused 
that privilege, and as their persons were inviolable, they satyrised 
and lampooned so freely those who were not liked by their patrons, 
that they became a public nuis;ince. Screened under the character 
of heralds, they grossly abused the enemy when he would not ac* 
cept the terms they offered. 
d Cean-teola, ' head of a family.' 

A poem: 17 

sword rests not by the side of CuchuIIin, bard of the 
times of old! Morning shall meet me on the plain, and 
gleam on the blue arms of Semo's son. But sit thou 
on the heath, O bard ! and let us hear thy voice : par- 
take of the joyful shell : and hear the songs of Temo- 

" This is no time," replied the bard, " to hear the 
song of joy ; when the mighty are to meet in battle like 
the strength of the waves of Lego. Why art thou so 
dark, Slimora e ! with all thy silent woods? No green 
star trembles on thy top ; no moon-beam on thy side. 
But the meteors of death are there, and the grey wa- 
try forms of ghosts. Why art thou dark, Ijlimora ! 
witli diy silent woods ?" He retired, in the sound of his 
song : Carril accompanied his voice. The music was 
like the memory of joys that are past, pleasant and 
mournful to the soul. The ghosts of departed bards 
heard it from Slimora's side. Sott sounds spre^.d along 
the wood, and the silent valleys of night rejoice. So 
when he sits in the silence of nocn, in the valley of his 
breeze, the humming of the mountain bee comes to 
Ossian's ear : the gale drovs^ns it often in its course ; 
but the pleasant sound returns again. 

" Raise," said Cuchullin, to his hundred bards, " the 
song of the noble Fingal : that song which he hears at 
night, when the dreams of his rest descend ; when 
the bards strike the distant harp, and the faint light 
gleams on Selma's walls. Or let the grief of Lara rise, 
and the sighs of the mother of Calmar f, when he was 
■ sought, in vain, on his hills, and she belield his bow in 
the hall. Carril, place the sliield of Caitlibat on that 
brancli ; and let the spear of Cuchullin be near ; that 

e Slia'-mor, ' great hill.' 

f the son of Matha. H?s death is related at large in the 
th'rd book cf Fingal. He was the only son of Matha: and the fa- 
mily \vas ex::nct hi him. The seat of the f.imiiy was on tiie banka 
of t!ie r;ver Lara,, in the ncigivbourhood of Lego, and probably neat 
theplf.ce where Cuchullin lay ; wiiich circumsunc;iU2i,'e3tcdtohil» 
the lair.c-,;*..-;:lon of Alcietha ever htr $o», 
C 3 


the sound of my batttle may rise with the grey beam of 
the east." The hero leaned on his father's shield: the 
song of Lara rose. The hundred bards were distant 
far : Carril alone is near the chief. The words of the 
song were his j and the sound of his harp was mourn- 

" Alcletha e with the aged locks ! mother of car- 
borne Calmar ! why dost thou look towards the desertj 
to behold the return of thy son ? These are not his he- 
roes, dark on the heath : nor is that the voice of Cal- 
mar : it is but the distant grove, Alcletha! but the roar 
of the moutitain wind!" Who'^ bounds over Lara's 
Stream, sister of the noble Calmar ? Does not Alcletha 
behold his spear ? But her eyes are dim ! Is it not the 
son of Matha, daughter of my love ?" 

" It is but an aged oak, Alcletha !" replied the love- 
ly weeping Alona '. It is but an oak, Alcletha, bent 
over Lara's stream. But who comes along tlie plain ? 
Sorrow is in his speed. He lifts high the spear of Cal- 
mar. Alcletlia ! it is covered witli blood !" *' But it is 
covered with the blood of foes ^, sister of car-borne 
Calmar ! his spear never returned unstained with blood, 
nor his bov/ from the strife of the mighty. The battle 
is consumed in his presence : he is a name of death. 
Alona ! Youth i of tlie mournful sp^ed ! where is the 
son of Alcletha ? Does he return with his fame ! in the 
midst of his echoing sliields ? Thou art dark and silent! 
Calmar is then eo more. Tell me not, warrior, how 
he fell, for I cannot hear of his wound, ' 

g Ald-cla'tha, •decaying beanty ;' probably a poetical name givca 
the mathev oi Calraar, by the bard himself. 

h Alcletlia speaks. Calmar had promised to return, by a certsijA 
day ; and his mother and his sister Alona are represented by the bard, 
as looking with impatience towards the quarter where they expec^ 
ted Calmar would make his first appearance. 

i Atuinc, ' exquisitely beautiful.' 

k Alcletha speaks. 

1 f he addresses herself to Lanir, Calmar';, frknd , who ha-i return^ 
eC with the news of his death. 

A POEM. 19 

*' Why dost thou looJc towards the desert, mother of 
car-borne Calmar ?" 

Such was the song of Carrll, when Cuchullin lay on 
his shield : the bards rested on their harps, and sleep 
fell softly around. The son of Semo was awake alone ; 
his soul was fixed on the war. The burning oaks be- 
gan to decay ; faint red light is spread around. A fee- 
ble voice is heard ! the ghost of Calmar came. He 
stalked in the beam. Dark is the wound in his side. 
His hair is disordered and loose. Joy sits daikiy on his 
face ; and he seem.s to invite Cuchullin to his cave. 

" Son of the cloudy night!" said the rising chief of 
Erin : " Why dostjthou bend thydark eyes on nie,ghost 
of the car-borne Calmar? Wouldst thou frighten me, 

Matha's son ! from the battles of Cormac ? Thy 
hand was not feeble in war ; neither v/as thy voice ■" 
for peace. How art thou changed, chief of Lara ! if 
thou noxv dost advise to fly ! But, Calmar, I never fled. 

1 never feared 'i the ghost of the desert. Small is their 
knowledge, and weak their hands ; their dwelling is ia 
the wind. But my soul grows in danger, and rejoices 
in the noise of steel. Retire tliou to thy cave ; thou arc 
hot Caimar's ghost ; he delighted in battle, and his arm 
was like the thunder of heaven." 

He retired ia his blast with joy, for he had heard the 
voice of his praise. The faint beam of the morning 
rose, and the sound of Caithbat's buckler spread. Green 
Uliin's warriors convened, like the roar of many streams. 
The horn of war is heard over Lego j the mdghty Tor* 
lath came. 

" Why do5t thou come with thy thousands, Cuchul- 
lin ?" said the chief of Lego. " I know the strength 
of thy arm, and thy soul is an unextinguished fire. 
Why fight we not on the plain, and let our hosts be- 
hold our deeds? Let them behold us like roaring 

m See Caimar's speech, in the first book of Fingal. 
n See Cuchullb's rcpJy to Conn*l» concerning Crugal's ghost, 
lint;, b. II. 


x", aves, that tumble round a rock : tlie mariners hasten 
away, and look on their strife with fear." 

*' Thou risest like the sun, on my soul," replied the 
son of Semo. " Thine arm is mighty, O Torlath ; 
and worthy of my wrath. Retire, ye men of Ullin, to 
Siimora's shady side ; behold the chief of Erin, in the 
day of his fame, Carril! tell to mighty Connal, if 
Cuchullin must fall, tell him I accused the winds which 
roar on Togorma's waves. Never was he absent in 
battle, when, the strife of my fltme arose. Let this 
sword be before Corrnac like the beam of heaven : let 
his counsel sound in Tcmora in the day of danger." 

He rushed, in the sound of his arms, like the terri- 
ble spirit of Loda o, vv hen he comes in the roar of a 
thousand storm.s, and scatters battles from his eyes. He 
WtS on a cloud over Lochlin's seas : his mighty hand is 
on his sword, and the v/inds lift his flaming locks. So 
terrible was Cuchullin in the day of his fame. Tor- 
3ath fell by his hand, and Lego's heroes mourned. 
They gjither around the chief like the clouds of the de- 
sert. A thousand swords rose at once ; a thousand ar- 
rov/s ilew ; but he stood like a rock in the midst of 
a roaring sea. Thev fell around ; he strode in blood : 
dark Siimora echoed v/ide. The sons of Ullin came ; 
?.nd the battle spread over Lego. The chief of Erin 
overcame ; he returned over the field with his fame. 
But pale he returned ! The joy of his face vvas dark. 
He rolled his eyes in silence. The sv/ord hung, un- 
sheathed, in his ]>and, and his spear bent at every step. 

" Carril," said the king in secret, " the strength of 
Cuchullin fails. My days are with the years that are 
past: and no m,crning of mine shall arise.' They shall 
seek me at Temcra, but I shall not be found. Cor- 
rnac will weep in his hall, and say, " Where is Tura's 
chief:" But my name is renowned ? my fame in the 

o Loda, in the third book of Fingal, U mentioned as a place of 
v.-oiship in Scandinavia; by tbe «pint of Loda, the poet probably 
.-.•v.'.s Oilin, tl.c gi;at deity of thv uyrthcrn niiUuns, 

A POEM. 2! 

song of bards. The youth will say in secret, " O let 
me die as Cuchullin died ; renown clothed him like a 
robe ; and the light of his fame is great. Draw the 
arrow from my side ; and lay Cuchullin beneath that 
oak. Place the shield of Caithbat near, that they may 
behold me amidst the arms of my fathers." 

" And is the son of Semo fallen?" said Carril with a 
sigh. " Mournful are Tura's walls; and sorrow dwells 
at Dunscaich. Thy spouse is left alone in her youth, 
the son ? of thy love is alone. He shall come to Bra- 
gela, and ask her why she weeps. He shall lift his eyes 
to tiie w^ail, and see his father's sword. " Whose 
sword is that r" he will say, and the soul of his mo- 
ther is sad. Who is that like the hart of the desert, in 
the murmur of his course ? His eyes look wildly round 
in search of his friend. Connal, son of Colgar, where 
hast thou been, when the mighty fell ? Did the seas 
of Togorma roll around thee? VVas the wind of the 
south in thy sails ? The mighty have fallen in battle, 
and thou wast not there. Let none tell it in Selma, 
nor in Morven s woody land ; Fingal v/iU be sad, and 
the sons of the desert mourn." 

By the dark-rolling waves of Lego they raised the 
hero's tomb. Luath ^, at a distance lies, the compani- 
on of Cuchullin at the chase. 

" Blest' be thy soul, son of Semo ; thou wert mighty 

p Conloch, who was afterwards very famous for his great cxploiti 
in Ireland. He was so remarkable for his dexterity in handling the 
javelin, that when a good marksmen is described, it has passed into 
a proverb, in the north of Scotland, ' He is unerring as the arm of 

q It was of old the custom to bury the favOurire dog ncir the 
inaster. This was not peculiar to the ancient Scots, for we tind it 
practised by many other nations in their ages of heroism. There ij 
a stone shown still at Dunscaich, in the isle of Sky, to whkh Cuchul» 
Hn bound his dog Luath. The stone goes by his name to this uiy, 

r This is tl.e song of the bards over Cuchullin's tomb. Every stan- 
»a closes with some remarkable title of the iiero, wliich was alway* 
the custom in funeral elegies. The verse of the song is a lyric mea- 
sure j and it of old suug to the harp; 


in battle. Thy strength was like the strength of a 
stream : thy speed Hke the eagle's wing. Thy path in 
the batde was terrible : the steps of death were behind 
thy sword. Blest be thy soul, son of Semo; car-borne 
chief of Dunscaich ! Thou hast not fallen by the sword 
of the mighty, neither v/as thy blood on the spear of 
the valiant. The arrow came, like die sting of death 
in a blast ; nor did the feeble hand which drew the 
bow perceive it. Peace to thy soul, in thy cave, chief 
of the isle of mist ! 

" The mighty are dispersed at Temora : diere is 
none in Cormac's hall. The king mourns in his youth, 
for he does not behold thy corning. The sound of thy 
shield is ceased : his foes are gathering round. Soft be 
thy rest in thy cave, chief of Erin's wars ! Bragela will 
not liope thy return, or see thy sails in ocean's foam. 
Her steps are not on the shore ; nor her ear open to the 
voice of thy rovv^ers. She sits in the hall of shells, and 
sees the arms of him that is no more. Thine eyes are 
full of tears, daughter of car-borne Sorgian ! Blest he 
thy sGul in death, O chief of shady Cromla !'* 




ft may not he improper here, to give the story which Is the foundi» 
tion of this poem, as it is handed down by tradition. Usnoth, 
Lord of Etha, which is probably that part of Argyleshire which is 
Iiuar Loch Eta, an arm of the sea in Lorn, had three "-ors, Nathos, 
Althos and Ardan, by Slissama, the daughter of Semo, and sister 
to the celebrated Cuchullin. The three brotliers, when very young, 
V. ere sent ove^- to Ireland by their father, to learn the use of arms 
under their uncle Cuchi:llin, wbomadeagrcat figure in that king- 
dom. They were just landed in Ulster when the news of Cuchul- 
lin'i death arrived. Nathos, though very young, took the com- 
mand of Cuchullin's army, tnnde head against Cajrbar the usurper, 
and defeated him in several batt'e.*. Cairbatat last liaving found 
means to murder Cormac the lawful king, the army of Katho* 
shifted sides, and he himself was obliged to return int> Ulster, in 
order to pass over into Scotland. 

rir-thula, the daughter of Colia, with whom Cairbr.r was in love, re- 
sided, at that time, in Selama, a castle in Ulster ; she sav^, fell i.-i 
love, aud fled with Nathos ; but a storm rising at sea, they werp; 
unfortunately driven back Oii that part of the coast of Ulster 
where Cairbur was encamped with his army, waiting for Fingal, 
who meditated an expedition into Ireland, to re-establish tii« 
Scottish race of king? on the throne of that kingdom. 'Che three 
brothers, after havii'.t» defended th.en.jelvcs, for »omc tin,ie, wiili 
great bravery; were overpowered aud ^lai^, and the unfortunate 
Dar-thuia kiiled herself upon the body of her belved Nathos. 

Ossian opens the poem, on "the Righ.t preceding the death of the sons 
of Usnoth, and brings in, by way of epiiOde, what passed before. 
He relates the death of Dar thula differently from the common tr.-j' 
dition J hij account is the most probable, as suicide seems to have 
been unknown in those early times: for no traces of it are found 
in the old poetry. 

DAUGHTER, of heaven a, fair art thou!^ the silencs 
ot thy face is pleasant. Thou comest forth in love- 
liness J the stars attend thy blue steps in the east. The 

a The address to the moon is very beautiful in the original. Itis 
a lyic jne4su;s> xni .^pp-irs to have br^n »u'-.^ :.o tlie harp. 

24 dar-thula: 

clouds rejoice in thy presence, O moon, and brighten 
their dark-brown sides. Who is Hke thee in heaven, 
daughter of the night? The stars are ashamed in thy 
presence, and turn aside their green, sparkling eyes. 
Whither dost thou retire from thy course, when the 
darkness b of thy countenance grov/s ? Hast thou thy 
]iall like Ossian? Dwellest thou in the shadow of gnet? 
Have thy sisters fallen from heaven ? Are they who re- 
joiced wiiJi thee at night, no more \ Yes ! they have 
fallen, fair light ! and thou dost often retire to mourn. 
But thou thyself shalt fail, one night ; and leave thy 
blue path in heaven. The stars will then lift their 
jrreen heads : they who v/ere ashamed in thy presence 
.■/ill rejoice. Thou art now clothed with thy bright- 
iiess: look from- thy gates in the sky. Burst the cloud, 
O wind, that the daughter of night m.ay look forth, 
that the shaggy mountains may brighten, and the o- 
cean roil its blue waves in light. 

Nathos (^ is on the deep, and Alt]:ios that beam of 
youth ; Ardan is near his brothers ; they move in the 
gleam of their course. The sons of Usnoth move in the. 
darkness, from the WTath of car-borne Cairbar ^. Who 
is that dim, by their side ? the night has covered her 
beauty. Her hair sighs on ocean's wind ; her robe 
streams in dusky wreaths. She is like the fair spirit of 
heaven, in tlie midst of his shadov/y mist. Who is it 
but Darthulae, the first of Erin's maids? She has lied 
trom the love of Cairbar, with the car-borne Nathos, 

h Tlie poet means the moon in lier wane. 

c Kathos signifies 'youthful ;' Ailthos, • exquisite beauty ;' Ardan. 
« pride.' 

d Cairbar, who murdered Cormac kinjr of Ireland, and usurped 
the throne. He wa;; afi.ervvards killed by Oscar the son of Osstan in 
a single combat. The jioet upon other occasioas gives him tJie epi- 
thet of red haired, 

e Dar thula, or Dart 'huiJe, • a woman with fine eyes.' She was 
the most famous beauty of antiquity. To this day, when a womac^ ■ 
« wa'sedfor her beauty, the common phrase is, that ' she is iovely 

A POEM. 25 

But the winds deceive thee, O Dar-thuLi ; and deny 
the woody Etiia to thy sails. These are not thy moun- 
tains, Nathos, nor is that the roar of thy chmbing 
waves ; the halls of Cairbar are near ; and the towers 
of the foe lift their heads. UUin stretches its green 
iiead into the sea ; and Tura's bay receives the ship. 
Where have ye been, ye southern v/inds ! when the 
sons of my love A\'ere deceived ? But ye have been sport- 
ing on plains, and pursuing the thistle's beard. O that 
ye had been rustling in the sails of Nathos, till the hills 
of Etha rose ! till they rose in their clouds, and saw 
their coming chief! Long hast thou been absent, Na- 
thos ! and the day of thy return is past. 

But the land of gtrangers saw thee lovely : thou wast 
lovely in the eyes of Dar-thula. Thy face w^as like the 
light of the morning, tliy hair like the raven's Vv'ing. 
Thy soul was generous and mild, like the hour oi the 
setting sun. Thy words v/ere the gale of the reeds, or 
the gliding stream of Lora. But when the rage of bat- 
tle rose, tliou wast like a sea in a storm ; the clang of 
arms was terrible : the host vanis'ied at the sound of 
thy course. It was then Dar-thula beheld thee from 
tlie top of her mossy tower : from the tower of Sela- 
ma f, where her fathers dwelt. 

" Lovely art thou, O stranger !" she said, for her 
trembling soul arose. " Fairartthouinthy battles, friend 
of the fallen Cormac e ! Why dost diou rush on, in thy 
valour, youth of the ruddy look : Few are thy hands 
in battle, against the car-borne Cairbar ! O that I might 

f The poet does not mean that Selama which is mentioned as the 
seat of Toscar in Ulster, in the poem of Conlath and Cuthona 1 lie 
word in the origin?.! Mgnities either beautiful to behold, or a place 
vith a pleasant or wide prospect. In those times they hui'.t their 
houses upon ei»inences, to command a view of the country, and tc; 
prevent their being surprised : many of them, on tliat account, were 
called Selama. The famous Selma of Fingal is derived from the 
same roof. 

g Cormac the voung f.r.g of Ireland, v.-ho was murdered by Csir« 

Vol. II. c 

'if> darthula: 

be freed of his love '' ! that I might rejoice in the prc» 
sence of Nathos ! Blest are the rocks of Etha ; they 
V/ill behold his steps at the chase ! they will see his 
v/hite bosorn, when the winds lift his raven hair !" 

Such were thy Words, Dar-thula, in Seianiii's mos- 
sy towers. But, now, the night is round thee : and the 
v/indr3 have deceived thy sails. The winds have deceiv- 
ed thy sails, Dar-thula : their blustering sound is high. 
Cease a litde v/hile, O north wind, and let me hear the 
voice of die lovely. Thy voice is lovrly, Dar-tiiula> 
between the rustling blasts. 

" Are these the rocks of Nathos, and the roar of hi3 
mountain streams? Comes that beam of light from Us- 
noth's nightly hall ? The mist rolls around, and the 
beam is feeble, but the light of Dar-thuk's soul is the 
car-borne chief of Etha ! Son of the generous Usnoth, 
why that broken sigh ? Are we net in the land of 
strangers, chief of echoing Etha :" 

" These are not the rocks of Nathos," he replied, 
" nor the roar of his stream.^. No light comes fror.a 
Etha's halls, for they are distant tar. We are in the 
Jand of strangers, in the land of car-borne Cairbar. The 
winds h?-re deceived us, Dar-thula. Ullin lifts here her 
green hills. Go towards the north, Althos; be thy 
steps, Ardan, along tlie coast ; thai the foe may not 
come in darkness, and our hopes of Etha fail. I v.'i?l 
go towards that mossy tower, and see who dwells a- 
bout the beam. Rest, Dar-thula, on the shore ! rest 
in peace, thou beam of light ! the sword of Nathos is 
around thee, like the lightning of heaven." 

He v/ent. She sat alone, and heard the rolling of the 
wave. The big tear is in her eye ; and she looks for 
the car-borne Nathos. Her soul trembles at the blast* 
And she turns her ear towards the tread of his feet» 
The tread of his feet is not heard. " Where aj i t!iou, 
son of my love ? The roar of the blast is around iris. 
Dark is the cloudy night. But Nathos does noc re- 

li That is, of the love of Cahi^^r, 

A rOEM. S7 

t«in. What detains thee, chief of Etha? Have the foes, 
met the hero in the strife of tlie night r" 

He returned, but his face was dark : he had seea his 
departed friend. It was the wall of Ti ra, a id the 
cliost of Cuchuilin stalked there. The sigiung of his 
breast was frequent ; and the decayed liame ot his eyes 
terrible. His spiar was a column of mist : the stars 
looked dira. through his form. His voice v/as like hol- 
low wind in a cave : and he told tlie tale of grief. The 
soul of Nathos was sad, like the sun in the day of mist, 
v/hen his face is watery and dim. 

" Why art thou sad, O Nathos ?" said the lovely 
daughter of Colla. *' Thou art a pillar of light to Dai- 
thula : The joy of her eves is in Edia's chief. Where 
is my friend, but Natlios ? My fadier rests in the tomb. 
Silence dwells on Selama : Sadness spreads on the blue 
streams of my land. My friends have fallen with Cor- 
mac. The mighty were slain in the battle of Ullin. 

" Evening darkened on the plain. The blue streams 
sailed before mine eyes. The unfrequent blast came 
rusding in the tops of Selama's groves. ISIy seat was 
beneath a tree on the walls of my fathers.' Truthil 
past before my soul ; the brother of my love ; lie that absent' in batde against the car-borne Cairbar., 
Bending on his spear, the grey haired Colla came : hi$ 
downcast fice is dark, and sorrow dwells in his soul. 
His sv/ord is on the side of the hero : the helmet of his 
fathers on his head. The battle grov/s in liis breast. 
He strives to hide die tear. 

" Dar-thuia," he sighing said, * thou art the list of 
ColLi's race. Trudiii is fallen in battle. The king t 
of Selama is no more. Cairbar comes, v/ith his thou- 
sands towards Selama's v/ails. Colla will meethispridej, 
jind revenge his son. But ^^■here shall I fmd thy Siifety, 
Par-diuia with the dark-brown hair ? thou art lovely 

i The famih" of Colla preserved their loyalty to Conuaclong, 
tl.c death of Cuchuilin. 

k I: is very common, in CsiiLin's poetry, to give tlie tiile of kiog 
t? c-.t:y chief tlut w as r^markiblc fqi his valyi^r. 

28; t>AR-THULA: 

as the sun-beam of heaven, and thy friends are lo\v." 
"And is the son of battle fallen :" I said with a burst- 
"ing sigh. " Ceased the generous soul of Truthil to 
- lighten through the field ? My safety, Colla, is in that 
bow ; I have learned to pierce the deer. Is not Cair- 
bar like the hart of the desert, father of fallen Tru- 
thil :" 

The face of age brightened with joy : and the crowd- 
ed tears of his eyes poured down. The lips of Colla 
trembled. His grey beard whistled in the Wast. "Thou 
art the sister of Truthil," he said ; " thou burnest in the 
fire of his soul. Take, Dar-thula, take tliat spear, that 
brazen shieldjthat burnished helmet: they are the spoils 
of a warrior ! a son ' of early youth, Wlicn the light 
rises on St:lama, we go to meet the car-borne Cairbar. 
But keep thou near the arm of Colla ; beneath the sha- 
dow of my shield. Thy. father, Dar-thula, could once 
defend thee, but age is trembling on his hand. The 
strength of his arm has failed, and his soul is darkea- 
ed with grief." 

We passed the night in sorrow. The light of morn- 
ing rose. I shone in the arms of battle. The grey- 
haired hero moved before. The sons of Selama con- 
vened around the sounding shield of Colla. But few- 
were they in the plain, and their locks were grey.^ 
I'he youths had fallen with Truthil, in the battle pi 
car-borne Cormac. 

" Companions of my youth !" said Colla, " it was 
not thus you have seen me in arms. Is was not thus 
I strode to battle, when the great Confadan fell. But 
ye are laden with grief. Tl e darkness of age comes like 
the mist of the desert. My shield is worn with years ; 
my sword is fixed '^ in its place. I said to my soul, 

1 The poet-, to make the story of Ear thula's arming herself for baf- 
t'e more proliabli', makes her armour to be that of a very young 
man, otherwise it would shock all belief, that she, who was very 
young, should be able to carry It. 

m It was the custom of those times, that every vvarripr at a cer- 
tain age, or when he became unfit for rhe field, fixed hh arms in the 

A POEM. 29 

tky evening shall be calm, and thy depaj'ture like ailid- 
ing light. But the storm has returned ; I bend like an 
aged oak. My boughs arc fallen on Selama, and I 
tremble in my place. Wiiere art thou, with thy fallen 
heroes, O my beloved Truthil ? Thou ans\vered?t not 
from thy rushing blast : and the soul of thy father is 
sad. But I will be sad no more, Cairbar or Colla must 
fall. I feel the returning strength of my arm. My 
he;ut leaps at the sound of battle." 

_ The hero drew his sword. The gleaming blades of 
his people rose. They moved along the plain. Their 
grey hair streamed in the wind. Cairbar sat at the 
least, in the silent plain of Lona'^, He saw the coming 
of heroes, and he called his chiefs to battle. Why^ 
Fhould I tell to Nathos, how die strife of battle grew - 
1 have seen thee in the midst of thousands, like the 
beam of heaven's fire : it is beautiful, but terrible ; the 
people fall in its red course. The spear of Colla slev/, 
for he remembered the battles of his youth. An ar- 
row came with its sound, and pierced the hero's side." 
He fell an his echoing shield. Mv soul started with fear, 
I stretched my buckler over him ; but my heaving 
breast was seen. Cairbar came, v/ith his spear, and he 
beheld Selaraa's maid: joy rose on his dark-brown face : 
he stayed the lifted steel. He raised the tomb of Colla ; 
and brought me weeping to Selama. He spoke the 

g*eat ha'I, whsre the tribe feasted, upon joyful occasions. He v,-cs 
afterwards never to appear in battle ; and tUij stage of life was call- 
ed ' the time of tixing of the arm?.' 

n Lona, ' a marshy plain.' It was the custom, in the days of 
Ossian, to f.'ast after a victory. CairUar fi.iJ just provided an enter- 
tainment for his army upon tlie defeat of Tnithil, the son of Coila, 
and the rest of the party of Cormac, v. hen Colla and his aged warri- 
ors arrived to ^ive him battle. 

o The poctavoiiJs tliedeicriptionof thcbattleofLona, as it wouI4 
he improper in the mouth of a woman, and could have norhinj; nev;, 
ziicT the numerous descriptions, of that kind, in his other pciemj. He. 
at the same time, gives an r;'portunicy tu Dar tLuU tg pa^s a hua 
coinpUuient on Jitr lover. 

C 3 


words of love, but my soul was sad. I saw the shields 
of my fathers, and the sword of car-borne Truthil. I 
saw the arms of the dead, and the tear was on my 
Then thou didst come, O Nathos : and gloomy Cair- 
bar lied. He fled hke the ghost of the desert before 
the morning's beam. His hosts v/ere not near : and 
feeble was his arm against thy steel. *' Why p art thou 
sad, O Nathos?" said the lovely maid of Colla. 

" I have met," replied the hero, *' the battle in my 
youth. My arm could not lift the spear, when first the 
danger rose ; but my soul brightened before the v/ar, 
as the green narrow vale, v/hen the sun pours his strea- 
my beams, before he hides his head in a storm. My 
?oul brightened in danger before I saw Selama's fair ; 
before I saw thee, like a star, that shines on die hill, at 
night; the cloud slowly comes, and threatens the love- 
1 y light. We are in the land of the foe, and the winds 
l^ave deceived us Dar-thula ! the strength of our friends 
is not near, nor the mountains of Etha. Where shall I 
£nd thy peace,daughterof mighty Colia ? The brothers 
of Nathos are brave : and his own sword has shone in 
war. But what are the sons of Usnoth to the host of 
car-borne Cairbar ! O that the winds had brought thy 
sails, Oscar^', king of men ! tliou didst promise to come 
to the battles of fallen Cormac. Then would my hand 
be strong as the flaming arm of death. Cairbar v.ould 
tremble in his halls, and peace dwell round the lovely 
Dar-thula. But v.hy dost thou fall, my soul ? The 
sons of UsnoUi may prevail." 

" And they will prevail, O Nathos," said the rising 
soul of the maid : " never shall Dar-ihula behold the 

p Tt is iisv;al with Ossian, to repeat. ?.t the end of the epistxies.tle 
jentencc whicli iniioducci thtii'. It br'vigs b.ick tfic iniinl ot the 
reader »o the main story of the poem. 

q Oscar, tlie son of Os'^iim, had king resolved on ilie expedition, 
5rito Ireland, agaiiist Cairbar, who had as^a-.sir.atcd his friend Catlio!, 
an Irishma* of noblc ^xt-racUor, at;^ i^i the ir.tcisst of th-e ^i-lully i/i 

A POKM. 3! 

hails of gloomy Cairbar. Give me tlinse arms of brass, 
that gliucr to that passing meteor ; I see them in the 
dark-bosomed ship. Dar-thula will enter the battle of 
steel. Ghost of the noble Coila ! do I behold thee on 
that cloud ? "Who is that dim beside thee ? It is the car- 
borne Truthil. Shall I behold the halls of him that 
slew Selama's chief? No: I will not be! lold them, spi- 
rits of my Ime !" 

Joy rose in the face of Nathos when he heard the 
white-bosomed maid. " Daughter of Selama ! thou 
shinest on my soul. Come, with thy thousands, Cair- 
bar ! the strength of Nathos is returned. And thou, 

aged Usnoth, shalt not hear that thy son has fled. 

1 remember thy words on Etlia, when my sails be- 
gun to rise : when I spread them towards Ullin, to- 
wards the mossy walls of Tura. " Thou goest," he 
said, " O Nathos, to the king of shields ; to Cuchul- 
lin, chief of men, who never lied from danger. Let 
not thine arm be feeble : neither be tliy thoughts of 
flight ; lest the son of Semo say that Etha's race are 
weak. His words may come to Usnoth, and sadden 
his soul in the hall. The tear was on his cheek. He 
gave this shining sword." 

" I came to Tura's bay : but the halls of Tura were 
silent. I looked around,' and there was none to tell of 
the chief of Dunscaich. I went to the hall of his shells, 
where the arms of his fathers hung. But the arms 
were gone, and aged Ldmhor"" sat in tears. " Whence 
are the arms of steel :" said the rising Lamhor. " The 
light of the spear has long been absent from Tura's 
dusky walls. Come ye from the rolling sea ? Or from 
the mournful hails of Temora^." 

" We come from the sea," I said, " from Usnoth's 
rising towers. We are the sons of Slissamat tlie 

r L?.mh mhor, « miglity hand.' 

s Teniora was the royal palace of the supreme kings of Ireland.' 
It is here called mournful, on account of the death of Cormac, who 
was murdered there by Cairbar who usuiped hi* throne. 

t Slis-seamha, ' soft bosom.* She was the wife of Uinotli, arA 
daughter ef Semo, ths chief of tke isle of uii>t^ 

52 bar-thula: 

daughter of car-borne Semo. Where is Tura's chief, 
son of the silent hall ? But why should Nathos ask? for 
I behold thy tears. How did the mighty fall, son of 
the lonely Tura ?" 

" He fell not," Lamhor replied, " like the silent star 
of night, V. hen it shoots through the darkness and is na 
more. But he was like a rneteor that falls in a distant 
land ; death attends its red course, and itself is the sign 
of wars. Mournful are the banks of Lego, and the 
roar of streamy Lara ! There the hero fell, son of the 
poble Usnoth." 

" The hero fell in the midst of slaughter," I said 
with a bursting sigh. " His hand was strong in battle ; 
und deatl:! was behind his sword." 

" We came to Lego's mournful banks. We found 
his lising tomb. His companions in battle are there : 
his bards of many songs. Three days we mourned ovtr 
the hero: on the fourth, I struck the shield of Caith- 
bat. The heroes gathered around with joy, and shook 
their beamy spears. Corlath was n^ar with his host, 
the friend of car-borne Cairbar. We came like a stream 
by night, and his heroes fell. When the people of the 
valley rose, they saw tlieir blood with morning's light. 
But wc rolled away like wreaths of mist, to Cormac's 
echoing hail. Our swords rose to defend the king. 
But Temora's halls were emipty. CoriPiac had fallen 
in his youth. The king of Erin was no more. 

" Sadness seized the sons of Ullin, they slowly, gloo- 
mily, retired: like clouds that, long having threatened 
rain, retire behind the hills. The sons of Usnoth mov- 
ed, in their grief, tov/ards Tura's souJiding bay. We 
passed by vSelama, and Cairbar retired like Lano's mist, 
when it is driven by the winds of the desert. 

*' It was then I beheld thee, O maid, like the light 
of Etha's son. Lovely is that beam, I said, and the 
crowded sigh of my bosom rose. Thou earnest in thy 
beauty, Dar-thula, to Etha's mournful chief. But the 
■winds have deceived us, daughter of CoUmj and the 
foe is near." 

A POF.M. C3 

*' Yes ! the foe is near," said tiie rustling strength of 
Althos ^\ 1 heard their clanging arms on the coast, 
and saw the d:ir!: wreaths of Erin's standard. Distinct 
is the voice of Cairbar v, and loud as Cronila's falling 
stream. He had seen the dark ship on the sea, before 
the dusky night came down. His people watch on Le- 
na's plain, and lift ten thousand swords.'' " And let 
them lift ten diousand swords," said Nathcs with a 
smile. " The sons oi car-borne Usnoth will never 
tremble in danger. Why dost thou roll with all thy 
foam, thou rolling sea of Uilin ? Why do ye rustle, on 
your dark wings, ye whistling tempests of the sky ? Do 
ve think, ye storms, that ye keep Nathos on the coast ? 
i^o : his soul detains him, children of the night ! Al- 
thos ! bring mv father's arms : thou seest them beaming 
to the stars. Bring the spear of Semo «', it stands in 
the dark-bosomed ship." 

He brought the arms. Nathos clothed his limbs in 
all their shining steel. The stride of the chief is lovely: 
the joy of his eyes terrible. He looks towards the com- 
ing of Cairbar. The wind is rustling in his hair. Dar- 
thula is silent at his side : her look is fixed on die chief. 
She strives to hide the rising sigh, and two tears swell 
in her eyes. 

" Althos !" said the chief of Etha, " I see a cave in 
that rock. Place Dar-thula there : and let thy arm be 
strong. Ardan 1 we meet the foe, and call to batde 

u Althos had just returned from viewing the ceast of Lena, whi- 
ther he had been scat by N'athcs, tlie beginning of the night. 

V Gail bar had gathered an army to the coast uf Ulster, in order 
to oppose Fingal, who prepared for an expedition into Ireland, to 
re-cstabli-.h the house of Cormac on tlie throne, wliich Cairbar had 
usurped. Fetween the wings of Cairhar's army, was the bay of '1 u- 
ra, into wliich the ships of the son* of Usnuth wtre dri\en : so that 
there was no possibihty of their escapii'ig. 

w Semo was grandfather to Nathos by the mother's side. The 
spear mentioned here was given to Usnoth on his marriage, it being 
the custom then for the father of the lady to give his arms to his son- 
in-law. The ctremuny u»ed upon these o:ci5k);is i^ mentioned ia 
other potmi. 

nt dar-tk'jla: 

gloomy Ca'ibar. O that he came in his bounding steel, 
to meetthe scnsofUsnoth. Darthula! if thou shalt e- 
scape, look not on the tailing Nathos. Lift thy sails, 
O Althos, tov/ards the echoing groves of Etha. 

" Tell to the chief •< that his son fell with fame ; 
that my sword did not shun th.e battle. Tell him I fell 
in the midst of thousands, and let the joy of his grief 
be great. Daughter of Colla ! call the maids to Elba's 
echoing hall. Let their songs arise for Nathos, when 
shadowy autumn returns. O that the voice of ConaV 
might be heard in my praise ! then would my spirit re- 
joice in the midst of my mountain winds.'' And my 
voice shall praise thee, Nathos, chief of the woody E- 
tha ! The voice of Ossian shall rise in thy praise, son of 
the generous Usnotli ! Why was I not on Lena, when 
the battle rose ! Then would the sword of Ossian 
have defended thee, cr himself have fallen lovv^. 

We sat, diat night, in Selma, round the strength of 
the shell. The wind was abroad, in the oaks, the spi- 
rit of the mountain'^ shrieked. The blast came rustling 
through the hall, and gendy touched my harp. The 
sound v/as mournful and low', like the song of the tomb. 
Fingal heard it first, and the crowded sighs of his bo- 
i>om rose. " Some of my heroes are low," said the^ 
grey-haired king of Mor\'en. " I hear the sound of 
death on the haip of my son. Ossian, touch the sound- 
ing string ; bid their sorrow rise ; that their spirits may 
iiy widi joy to Morven's woody hills." I touched the 
harp before the king, the sound wlis mournful and low. 
" Bend forward from your clouds," I said, " ghosts of 
my fathers ! bend ; lay by the red terror of your course, 
and receive the falling chief; whether he comes from 
ii distant land, or rises ironi the rolling sea, Let his robe 

X Usnotli. 

y 0!«.ian, lice son of Tingal, is often poetically called the voice of 

/. By the spirit <f the mniintain is meant that deep and mcl.incho- 
ly sound w.hich prtcedci a stcrin: well Laowr. to thoac who livcliia 
^i^h C4;uul.ry. 

A POEM. »j5 

of mist be near ; his spear diat is formed of a clou: f. 
Place an half-extinguished meteor by his side, in the 
form of the hero's sword. ^ And oh ! let his counte- 
nance be lovely, that his friends may delight in his 
presence. Bend from your clouds," t said, " gliosis 
of my fathers ! bend." 

Such was my song, in Selma, to the iightly-tremb- 
ling harp. Bui: Nathos was on Ullin's shore surround- 
ed by the night ; he heard the voice of the foe amidst 
the roar of tumbling waves. Silent he heard their 
voice, and rested on his spear. Morning rose, with its 
beams : the sons or Erin appear ; like grey rocks, v/ith 
all their trees, they spread along the coa-^t. Cairbar 
stood, in the midst, and grimly smiled when he saw 
the foe. Nathos rushed forward in Ins strength ; nor 
could Dar-thula stay behind. She came with the hero, 
lifting her shining spear. And who are these, in their 
armour, in the pride of youth ? Who but tlie sons of 
Usnoth ; Althos, and dark-haired Ardan. 

" Cjme," said Nathos, " come ! chief of the high 
Temora ! Let our batde be on the coast for the white- 
bosomxcd maid ! His people are not with Nathos ! they 
are behind that rolling sea,^ Why dost thou bring thy 
tliousands against the chief of Etha ? Thou didst fly » 
from him, in battle, when his friends were around 
him." " Youth of the heart of pride, shall Erin's king 
iight with thee ? Thy fathers were not among the re- 
nowned, nor of the kings of men. Are the arms of foes 
in their hails ? or the shields of otlier times ? Cairbar 
is renowned in Temora, nor does he fight with little 

The tear starts from car-borne Nathos ; he turned 
his eyes to his brothers, their spears flew, at once^ 
and three heroes lay on earth. Then the Hght of their 
swords gleamed on l>-gh : the ranks of Erin yield ; as a 
ridge ot dark clouds before a. bhist of wind. Theia 
Cairbar ordered his people ; aad they drev/ a thousand 

a He iliudfls to the flight cf Cakbar from Sdaroa, 

f^c dar-tmula: 

bows. A tliousand arrows flew ; the sons of Usnoth 
fell. They tell like three young oaks which stood Ji- 
lone on the hill ; the traveller sawthe lovely trees, and 
v/ondered how they grew so lonely : the blast of the 
desert came, by night, and laid their green heads low; 
next day he returned, but they were witliered, and the 
heath was bare. 

Dar-thula stood in silent grief, and beheld their fall ; 
no tear is in her eye : but her look is vv'ildlv sad. Pale 
was her cheek ; her trembling lips broke forth an half- 
formed word. IJer dark hair flew on the wind. But 
gloomy Cairbar came. *' Where is thy lover now ; 
the car-borne chief of Etha? Hast thou beheld the halls 
of Usnoth ? or the dark-brown hills of Fingal : My bat- 
tle has roared on Morven, did not the \vinds meet Diir- 
thula. Fingal himself would have been low, and sor- 
row dwelling in Selma. Her shield fell from Dar- 
thula's arm, her breast of snow appeared. It appear- 
ed, but it was stained with blood, for an arrow was fix- 
ed in her side. She fell on the fallen Nathos, like a 
wreath of snow. Her dark hair spreads on his fa£e, 
and their blood is mixing round. 

" Daughter of CoUa thou art low 1" said Cairl>ar's 
hundred bards ; " silence is at the blue stream.s of Sela- 
ma, for Truthil's'' race have failed. When wilt thou 
rise in thy beauty, first of Erin's maids ? Thy sleep is 
long in the tomb, and the morning distant far. The 
sun sh:ill not come to thy bed, and say, " Awake, Dar- 
thula! awake thou first of women ! the wind of spring 
is abroad. The flowers shake their heads on the green 
hills, the woods wave their growing leaves." Retire, 
O sun ; the daughter of Colla is asleep. She will not 
come forth in her beauty : she will not move, in tlie 
steps of her loveliness." 

Such v/as the song of the bards, when they raised 
the tomb. I sung, afterwards, over the grave, when, 
the king of Morven came ; when he came to greea, 
Ullin to fight with car-borne Cairbar. 

b Trutlul was tire founder ofPartliuIa's famllj'. 

:ii)j'TCH_\>i V jj: 

ssiAsrs i»o3:>is 



FiPgal , returning from an expedition which lie had made into tTie 
Roman province, rcsolveil to visit Cathu'.la, king of Inistore, and 
brother to Comala, whose story !■; related, at iarge, in the drama- 
tic poem publislied in tl\ls collection, t'pon his coming in sight 
of Carric-thura, the palace cf CathuHa, he observed a flame on its 
top, which, in those days, was a signal of distress. The wind 
*rovc him into a bay, at bome distance from Cariic-thura, and he 
uas obliged to pas» the nij^ht on the shore. Next day he attack- 
ed the army nf Frotiial king of Sora, who had besieged Cathullain 
his palace of Carric-tluira, and took Frothal himself prisoner, after 
he lud engaged him in a single combat. The deliverance cf 
Carric-thKra is the subject of the poem, but several other episodes 
are interwoven with it. ft appears from tradition, that this poem 
was addressed to a Culdee. or one of the first Christian missiona- 
ries, and that the story of the spirit of Loda, supposed to be the 
ancient Odin of Scandinavia, was introduced by Ossian in opposi- 
tion to the Culdce's doctriHC. Be tliis as it will, it let* us into 
0«jian's notions of a superior being ; and shows that lie wa-' not 
addicted to the supereti-ion which prevailed all the world over, 
before the introduction cf Christiar.ity. 

HAST a thou left thy blue course in heaven, golden- 
haired son of the sky ! The west has opened its 
gates ; the bed of thy repose is there. The waves come 
to behold thy beauty ; they lift their trembling heads : 
tliey see diee lovely in thy sleep ; but they shrink away 
with fear. Rest in thy shadowy cave, O sun ! and let 
thy return be in joy. But let a thousand lights arise to 
the sound of the harps of Selma : let the beam spread 
in the hall, the king cf shells is returned ! The strife of 
Crona '^ is past, like sounds that are no more : raise the 
song, O bards, the king is returned with his fame. 

a Thesongof Ullin, with which the poem opens, is in a lyric mea- 
sure. It was usual with Fingal, v.hen he returned from his expedi- 
tions, to send his bards singing before him. This species of trium; h 
is called by Ossian, the ' song of victory.' 

b Ossian has celebrated the ' strife of Crona,' in a particular po- 
em. This poena is connected with it, but it was impossible far the 

Vol. II. e 

G8 carric-thura: 

Such was the song of Ullin, when Ungal rCiurned 
from battle : when he returned in the fair blushing of 
youth, with all his heavy lock;^. His blue arms were 
on the hero ; like a grey cloud on the sun, when he 
moves in his robes of mist, and shows but half his 
beam.s. His heroes follow the king: ths feagt of shells 
is spread. Fingal turns to his bards, and bids the 
song to rise. 

Voices of echoing Cona ! he said, O bards of other 
times ! Ye, on whose souls the hosts of our fathers 
rise ! strike the harp in my hall ; and let Fingal hear 
the song. Pleasant is the joy of grief ! it is like the 
shower of spring, v/hen it softens the branch of the oak, 
and the young leaf lifts its green head. Sing on, O 
bards, to-morrow Ave lift the sail. My blue course is 
through the ocean, to Carric-thura's walls ; the mossy 
Vv'alls of Sarno, where Comala dwelt. There the noble 
Cathulla spreads the feast of shells. The boars of his 
woods are many, and the sound of the chase shall arise. 

Cronnanc, son of song ! said Ullin, Minona, grace- 
ful at the harp ! raise the song of Ghiiric, to please the 
king of Morven. Let Vinvela come in her beauty, 
like the showery bov/, when it shows its lovely head on 
tlie lake, and the setting sun is bright. And she comes, 
O Fingal ! her voice is soft, but sad. 

ViNVEL.A. My love is a son of the hill. He pursues 
the flying deer. His grey dogs are panting arouod 
him ; his bow-string sounas in the wind. Dost thou 
rest by the fount of the rock, or by the noise of the 
mountain-stream ? The rushes are nodding with the 
wind, the mist is flying over the hill. I will approach 

translator to procure that part which relates to Crona, with any dc* 
gree of purity. 

c One should think that the par':3 cf Shilric and Vinvela were re- 
presented by Cronnan and I^Iinona, whose very names denQ<e tha-t 
tl'ey were singers, who perfortned in public Cronnan signifies a 
• mournful sound ;' Minona, or Min 'onn, 'soft air* Allthcdra- , 
matic poems of Ossian app»,;r to have been pressntetl b«crc Fingal, i 
upon solemn occasions. 

A poem: ii9 

iny love unperceivcdj and see him from the rock. Love- 
ly I saw thee iirst bv tlie aged rock of Bnmno d; thou 
wcrtreUirning, tall from the chase ; tlie fiirest among 
thy friends. 

Shilric. What voice is that I hear ? the voice like 
the sunamer wind. I sit not by the nodding rushes ; I 
hear not the fount of the rock. Afar, Vinvela*, afar 
1 go to the wars of Fingal. My dogs attend me n.) 
more. No more I tread the hill. No more from on 
high I see thee, fair-moving by the stream of the plain ; 
bright as tlie bow of heaAcn ; as die moon en the west- 
ern wave. 

ViNVELA. Then thou art gone, O Sliilric ! and I am 
alone on die hill. The deer are seen on the brow ; 
void of fear they graz: along. No more they dread 
the v/ind ; no more the rustling tree. Tlie hunter is 
far removed ; he is in rlie field of graves. Strangers 1 
sens of die waves ! spare my love.y Shilric. 

Shilric. If fail I must in the field, raise high my 
grave, Vinvela. Grey stones and heaped-up earth, shall 
mark me to fiiture times. When the liunter shill sit by 
the mound, and produce his food at noon, " Some 
warrior rests Iiere," he will say; and my fame shall 
live in his praise. Remember me, Vinvela, when low 
on earth I lie ! 

ViKVELA. Yes ! I will remember thee ; indeed my 
Shilric will fall. What shall I do, my love ! when 
thou art gone forever. Through these hills I will go 
at noon : I will go through the silent heath. There I 
will see the place of tliy rest, returning from the chase. 
Indeed my Shilric will fall ; but I will remember him. 

And I remember tlie chief, said the king of woody 
Moiveo ; he consumed die battle in his rage. But now 

d Bran, or Branno, tiijninei a mountain-stream : it is here some 
fiver known by that name, in i he i'.ays of Ossian. There are seve- 
ral small rivers in the north of Scotland, s:;!! retainiup the name of 
Bran ; in particular, one which falls into the Tay at DunkelJ. 

e Bhin-bheul, ' a v.-omaa v.-ith a melodious voice.' Bh in the 
Calic language has the same s-juud with tlic V in LuglLU. 


my eyes behold him not. I met him, one day, oa 
the hill; his cheek was pale; his brow was dark. The 
sigh was frequent in his breast : his steps were towards 
the desert. But now he is not in the crowd of ray 
chiefs, when the sounds of my shields arise. Dwells he 
iadie narrow house*", the chief of high Carmoras ? 

Cronnan ! said UUin of other times, raise the song of 
Shilric ; v/hen he returned to his hills, and Vinvela was 
no more. He leaned on her grey mossy stone ; he 
thought Vinvela lived. He saw her fair>raoving h on 
the plain : but the bright form lasted not : the sun- 
beam iled from the field, and she was seen no more. 
Hear the song of Shilric ; it is soft, but sad. 

I sit by the mossy fountain ; on the top of the hill of 
v/inds. One tree is rustling above me. Dark waves 
roll over the heath. The lake is troubled below. The 
deer descend from the hill. No hunter at a distance is 
seen ; no whistling cow-lierd is nigh. It is mid-day: 
but all is silent. Sad are my dioughts alone. Didst 
thou but appear, O my love, a wanderer on the heath ! 
thy hair floating on the wind behind thee : thy bosom 
heaving on the siglit ; thine eyes full of tears for thy 
friends, whom the mist of the hill had concealed ! 
Thee I would comfort, my love, ajid bring thee to thy 
father's house. 

But is it she that there appears, like a beam of light 
on the heath ? bright as the moon in autumn, as the 
sun in a summer storm, comest thou lovely maid, over 
rocks, over mountains to me ? She spCaks : but how 
weak her voice, like the breeze in the reeds of the pool. 

" Returnest thou safe from the Where are thy 
friends, my love ? I heard of thy death on the hill ; I 
heard and mourned thee, Shilric !'* Yes, my fair, I re-? 

f Tlie grave. 

g Carn-inor. ' high rocky hill.' 

h '[he distinction, vvliich the'ancJent Scots made between good and!. 1 
bad spirits, was, that tlie former appeared iometimesin the daytimie' 
in lonely unfrequented places, but the latter seldom but by oigbt^, , 
aiul always in a Jii.mal gloomy scene. 

A POEM. 41 

turn ; but I alone of my race. Thou shalt see them no 
more : their graves I raisctl on the plain. But why art 
thou on die assert hill ? Why on tiie heath, alone ? 

*' ^Vlone I am, O Shilric ! alone in tlie winter-house. 
With grief for thee I expired. Shilric, I am pale ia 
tlie tomb.'* * 

Slie tieets, she sails away ; as grey mist before the 
- wind ! and, wilt thou not stay, my love ? Stay and be- 
hold my tears ? fair thou appearest Vinvela ! fair ihou 
wast, when alive! 

By the mossy fountain I will sit ; on the top cf tlie 
hill of winds. When mid-day is silent around, con- 
verse, O my love with me ! come on the wings of the 
gale ! on die blast of die mountain come ! Let nie 
hear diy voice, as thou passeat, when mid-day is silent 

Such was the song of Cronnan, on the night of Scl- 
ma's joy. But morning rose in the east ; die blue wa- 
ters rolled in light. Fiugal bide his sails to rise, and 
the vv^inds came rustling from their hills. Inistore rose 
to sight, and Carric-thura's mossy towers. But the 
sign of distress was on dieir top : the green flame, edg- 
ed widi smoke. The king of MoiTen struck his breasi : 
he assumed, at once, Ins spear. Kis darkened brow 
bends forward to the coast : he looks back to the lag- 
ging v/inds. His hair is disordered on his back. The 
silence of the king is terrible. 

Night came down on tlie sea : Rodia's bay received 
the ship. A rock bends along die coast vv^idi all its e- 
choing wood. On die top is the circle of Lode, i and 
the mossy stone of power. A narrov/ plain spreads be- 
neadi, covered widi grass and aged trees, which the 
. midnight v/inds, in dieir wiadi, had torn from the 
shaggy rock. The blue course of a stream is diere : 
u.ud the lonely blast of ocean pursues the thisde's beard. 

i The circle of LoJa is supposed to be a place of worship among 
t'.ft Scar.dii-.avlar.s, di tlic spirit of Loda is thouglit ta be the samdi 

42 carric-thura: 

The flame of three oaks arose : the feast is spread a- 
round : but the soul of the king is sad, for Cairic-thur 
ra's batthng chief. 

The wan cold nioon rose in the east. Sleep de- 
scended on the youths. Their blue helmets glitter to 
die beam, the fading fire decays. But sleep did not 
rest on the king : he rose in the midst of his arms, and 
slowly ascended the hill to behold the flame of Sarno's 

The flame was dim and distant ; the moon hid her 
red face in the east. A blast came from the mountain, 
and bore, on its wings, tlie spirit of Loda. He came to 
his place in his terrors -, and he shook his dusky spear. 
His eyes appear Hke flames in his dark face ; and his 
voice is like distant thunder. Fingal advanced with 
the spear of his strength, and raised his voice on high. 
Son of night, retire : call thy winds and fly : Why 
dost thou come to my presence, with thy shadowy 
arms ? Do I fear thy gloomy form, dismal spirit of 
Loda ? Weak is thy shield of clouds : feeble that me- 
teor, thy sword. The blast rolls them togedicr, and 
thou thyself dost vanish. Fly from my presence, son 
of night ! call thy winds and fly ! 

Dost thou force me from my place, replied the hol- 
low voice ? The people bend before me. I turn the 
battle in the field of the valiant. I look on the nations, 
and they vanish : my nostrils pour the blast of death. I 
come abroad on the winds : the tempests are before 
my face. But my dwelling is calm, above the clouds; 
the fields of my rest arc pleasant. 

*' Dwell then in thy calm fields, said Fingal, and let 
Comhal's son be forgot. Do my step? ascend, fi-om my 
hills, into thy peaceful plains ? Do I meet thee, with a 
spear, on thy cloud, spirit of dismal I.oda ? Why then 
dost thou frown on Fingal ? or shake thine airy spear? 
But thou frownest in vain ; I never fled firom mighty 

k He Is described, in a ilniCc, ifuhcpoim ccncfrnh-.g :lie i:*th 

OlCucl;uilin, " ' ' " 

A POEM. 4$ 

men. And shall tKe sons of the wind frighten the 
king of Morve.n I No i he knows the weakness of 
their arms. 

Fly to thy land, replied the form : receive the wind 
and fly. The blasts are in the hollow of my hand: 
^e course of the storm is mine. The king of Sora is 
my son, he bends at the stone of my power. His bat- 
tle is around Carric-thura ; and he will prevail. Fly 
to thy land, son of Comhai, or feel my riaming wrath. 

He lifted high his shadowy spear j and bent forward 
his terrible height. But the king, advancing, drew his 
sword ; the blade of dark-brown Luno ■. The gleam- 
ing path of the steel winds through the gloomy ghost. 
The form fell shapeless into air, hke a column of smoke, 
which the staff of the boy distuibs, as it rises from tiie 
half-extinguished furnace. 

The spirit of Loda shrieked, as, rolled into himself, 
he rose on the wind. Inistore shook at the sound. The 
wa^^es heard it on the deep ; they stopped, in their 
course, with fear : the companions of Fingal started, at 
once ; and took their lieavy spears. Tliey missed the 
king ; they rose with rage : all their arms resound. 

The moon came forth in the east. The king re- 
turned in the gleam of his arms. The joy of his youths 
■was great ; their souls settled, as a sea from a storm. 
Uliin raised the song of gladness. Tlie hills of Inistore 
rejoiced. The flame of the oak arose ; and the tales 
of heroes are told. 

But Frothal, Sera's battling king, sits in sadness be- 
neath a tree; the host spreads around Carric-thura. 
He looks towards the walls with rage. He longs for 
the blood of Cathuila, who once overcame the king in 
war. When Annir reigned'" in Sora, the father of car- 

1 The famous sword of Fingal, made by Lun, or Luno, a smith of 

m Annir was also the father of Erragor, who was killed after the 
tieath of his bi other Frothal. The death of Erragcn h tli? subjecx 
«f the battle (,t Lora, a poem ia thi* ctllcciljr.. 


feorne Frothal, a blast rose on the sea, and carried Fro- 
tlaal to Inistorc. Three days he ieasted in Saxno's halls, 
^nd saw the slow-rolling eyes of Coniala. He loved 
her, in the rage of youtli, and rushed to seize the 
white-armed maid. Cathulia met the chief. The 
gloomy battle rose. Frothal is bound in the hall : three 
days he pined alone. On the fourth, Sarno sent him 
to his ship, and he returned to his land. But wrath 
darkened his soul against the noble Cathulia. When 
Annir's stone " of fame arose, Frothal came in his 
strength. Hie battle burned round Carric-thura, and 
Sarno's mossy walls. 

Morning rose on Inistore. Frothal struck his dark- 
brown shield. I lis chiefs stiirted at the sound ; they 
stood, but their eyes were turned to the sea. They saw - 
Fingal coming in his strength j and first the noble 
1'iiubar spoke. 

" Who comes like the stag of the mountain, wifh 
all his herd behind him? Frothal, it is a foe ; I sec his 
forward spear. Perhaps it is the king of Morven, Fin- 
gal, the first of men. His actions arc well known on 
Gormal ; the bioyd of his foes is in Sarno^s halls. Shall 
I ask the peace 'J of kings ? He is like the thunder of 

" Son of the feeble hand," said Frothal, " shall my 
days begin in darkness ? Shall I yield before I have 
conquered hi battle, chief of streamy Tora ? The peo- 
ple would say in Sora, Frothal ikv/ forth hke a meteor ; 
but the dark cloud met it, and it is no more. No : 
Thubar, I will never yield ; my fame shall surround 
me like light. No : I will never yield, king of strea- 
my Tora." 

He went forth with the stream of his people, but 
they met a rock : Fingal stood unmoved, broken thsy 
rolled back from his side. Nor did ilicy roll in safety ; 

n That is, after the death of Aniiir. To erect the stone of one's 
io.nx.. was, in other vvord^, to ^ay Uut ihc ; criOil was dciii^ 
c {ior.ouribk teni-.s of pci'^c. 

A POEM. 45 

the spear of the king pursued their flight. The field is 
covered with heroes. A rising liill preserved the fly- 
ing host. 

Frothal saw their flight. The rage of his bosom 
rose. He bent his eyes to the ground, and ealled the 
noble Thubar. " Thubar ! my people fled. My fame 
has ceased to rise. I will fight the king ; I ieel my 
burning soul. Send a bard to demand the combat. 
Speak not against Frothal's words. But, Thubar ! I 
love a maid; she dwells by Thano's stream, the white- 
bosomed daughter of Herman,Utha with thcsoftly-roll- 
ing eyes. She feared the daughter o of Inistore, and 
her soft sighs rose at my departure. Tell to Utha 
tiiat I am low ; but diat my soul delighted in her." 

Such were his words, resolved to fight. But the soft 
sigh of Utha was near. She had followed her hero o- 
ver die sea, in the armoiu* of a man. She rolled her 
eye on the youth, in secret, from beneath a glittering 
helmet. But now she saw the bard as he went, and 
the spear fell thrice from her hand. Her loose hair 
flew on the wind. Her white breast rose, with sighs. 
She lifted up her eyes to the king ; she would speak, 
but thrice she failed. 

Fingal heard the words of the bard ; he came in the 
strength of his steel. They mixed their deathful spears,^ 
and raiae the gleam of their swords. But the steel of 
Fingal descended and cut Frothal's shield in twain. His 
fair side is exposed ; half-bent he foresees his death. 

Darkness gathered on Utha's soul. The tear rolled 
dovv^n her cheek. She rushed to cover the chief with 
her shield ; but a fallen oak met her steps. She fell 
on her arm of snow ; her shield, her helmet flew wide. 
Her white-bosom heaved to die sight; her dark-brown 
hair is spread on earth. 

Fingal pitied the white-armed maid : he stayed the 
uplifted sword. Th« tear was in the eye of the king, 

p By the daugher of Inistore, Frothal means Cotr.a'a, of whoic 
de^th Utha probably had not heard; consequently she fcaicu tlut 
\iis furmer passisa cf Frothal X'gt Csm^ila nUghc retuiu. 

49 carric-thura: 

as, -bending forward, lie spoke. " King of streamy So* 
ra ! fear not the sword of Fingal. It was never stain- 
ed with the blood of the vanquished ; it never pierced : 
a fallen foe. Let thy people rejoice along the blue wa- 
ters of Tora : let the maids of thy love be glad. Why 
&houldst thou fall in thy youth, king of streamy Sora?^* 

Frothal heard the words of Fingal, and saw the rising 
maid: theyp stood in silence, in their beauty; like two 
ycujig trdes of the plain, w^h.en the shower of spring is 
en their leaves, and the loud winds are laid. 

" Daughter of Jrlerman," said Frothal, " didst thou 
come from Tora's streams ; didst tliou come, in thy 
beauty, to behold thy warrior low ? But he was Io'at 
before the mighty, maid of the slow-roiling eye ! The 
feeble did not overcome the son of car-bome Annir. 
Terrible art diou, O king of Morven! in batdes of the 
spear. But, in peace, tliou art like the sun, when he 
looks through a silent shower : the flowers lift tlieir fair 
heads before him ; and the gales shake tlieir lustling 
wings. O that thou wert in Sora ! that my feast were 
spread I _ The future kings of Sora would see thy arnns 
and rejoice. They would rejoice at the fame of tlieir 
fathers, who beheld die miglity Fingal. 

" Son of Annir," replied the king, " the fame of 
Sora's race shall be heard. When chiefs are strong in 
battle, tlien does the song arise ! But if their sv/ords are 
stretched over the feeble : if the blood of the weak has 
stained tlieir arms ; the bard shall forget them in the 
song, and their tomb shall not be known. The stran- 
ger shall come and build there, and remove the heaped- 
up eardi. An half^vorn svvord shall rise before him ; 
and bending^ above it he will say, " These are the arms 
of chiefs of old, but their names are not in song. 
Come thou, O Frothal, to the feast of Inistore ; let the 
maid of thy love be there ; and our faces v.'ill brightea 
witli joy," 

q Frotha! and Ut'.ia; 

A ^OE^r. 47 

Fingal took Ii's spear, moving in the steps of hh 
might. The gates of Carric-thura are opened. The 
feast of shells is spread. The voice of music arose. 
Gladness brightened in the hall. The voice oi' Ulliii 
was heard ; the harp of Selma was strung. Utha re- 
joiced in his presence, and demanded tb.e song ofgrief; 
the big tear hung in her eye, when the soft Crimoraf 
spoke ; Crimora the daughter of Rinval, who dwelt a" 
Lotha's ^ mighty stream. The tale was long, but love- 
ly ; and pleased the blushing maid of Tora. 

CaiMORAf. Who Cometh fromthehill, like a cloud 
tinged widi the beam of the west! Whose voice is that, 
loud as the wind, but pleasant as tlie harp of Carnl ^<- ? 
It is my love in the liglit of steel ; but sad is his dark- 
ened brow. Live the mighty race of Fingal ? or what 
disturbs my Connal ^ > 

Con SAL. They live. I saw them return from the 
chase, like a stream of lig;ht. The sun was on their 
shields. Like a ridge of fire they descended the hill. 
Loud is the voice ot my youth : the Vv-ar, my love, h 
near. To-morrovv^ the terrible Dargo comes to try 
the force of our race. The race of Fingal he defies ; 
the race of battle and wound?. 

CaiMORA. Connal, I saw his sails, like grey mist on 

r There is a projirle'-y in introducing this episode, as the situation 
of Critnora and Utha were so similar. 

s Lotlia wa^ the ancient name of one of the preat rivers in the 
I north of Scotland. The only one of them that still retains a name 
1 cf a like sound is Lochy, in Inverness-shire ; but whether it is the rl» 
' Vcr mentioned here, the translator will not pretend to .say. 
t Crimora, ' a woman of a great soul.' 

u Perliaps the Carril mentioned here is the same with Carril th-c 
fon cf Kinfena, CuchuUin's bard. The name itself is proper to any 
bard, as it hignive.^ a sprightly an'' harmonious sound. 

V Connal, the son of Diaran, was one of the most famous heroes 
of Fingal; he was slain in a batt e against Dargo, a Friton; but whe- 
ther by the hanrlcf thecaemy, or that of Ills nilnres,traditioa doss 
s»c d«tsrH-.ia«. 


the sable wavt. They slowly came to land. Connal, 
many are the warriors of Dargo ! 

Conn A L. Bring me thy father*s shield : the bossy, 
iron shield of Rinval ; that shield like the full moon' 
when it moves darkened through heaven. 

CaiMORA.That shield I bring, OConnal; but it did 
not defend my father. By the spear of Gormai' he fell. 
Thou maycst fall, O Connal ! 

Con N A L. Fall indeed I may : but raise my tomb, Cri- 
mora. Grey stones, a mound of earth, shall keep my 
memory. Bend thy red eye over my tomb, and beat 
thy mournful heaving breast. Though fair thou art, 
my love, as the light ; miOre pleasant than the gale of 
the hill ; yet 1 will not stay. Raise my tomb, Crimora. 

Crimora. Then give me those arms of light ; that 
sword, and that spear of steel. I shall meet Dargo with 
thee, and aid my lovely Connal. Farev/el, ye rocks of 
Ardven ! ye deer ! and ye stream^s of the hill ! We 
shall return no more. Our tombs are distant far. 

" And did they return no more ?" said Utha's burst- 
ing sigh. " Fell the mighty in battle, and did Crimora 
lire ? Her steps were lonely, and her soul was sad for 
Connal. Was he not young and lovely ; hke the beam 
of the setting sun r" Uliin saw the virgin's tear, and 
took the stfdy trembling harp : the song was lovely, 
but sad ; and silence was in Carric-thura. 

Autumn is dark on the mountains ; grey mist rests 
en the hills. The whirlwind is heard on the heath. 
Park rolls the river through the narrow plain. A tree 
stands alone on the hill, and marks the slumbering Con- 
nal. The leaves whirl round with the wind, and strew 
the grave of the dead. At times are seen here the 
ghosts of the deceased, when the musing hunta* alone 
stalks slowly over the heath. 

Who can reach the source of thy race, O Connal ? ' 
and who recount thy fathers ? Thy family grew like 
an oak on the mountain, v/hich meeteth the wind with 
lis lofty head. But now it is torn from the earth. 

A POEM. 49 

Who slrtll supply the place of Cqnnal ? Here was the 
dinot'ainis! and here the groan of the dying. Bloody 
are tlie v/ars of Fing^d ! O Connal ! it was here thou 
didst fall. Thine arm was hke a storm ; thy sword a 
beam of the sky ; thy height, a rock on the plam ; 
tliine eye?, a furnace of fire._ Louder than a storm was 
thy voice, in tlie battles of thy steel. Warriors teli 
by thy sword, as the thistle by tlie stalT of a boy. 
Dargo the mightv came on, like a cloud of thunder. 
Hi<! brows were contracted and dark. His eyes like 
two caves in a rock. Bright rose their swords on each 
side ; dire was the clang of their steel. 

The daughter of Rinval was near ; Crimora bright 
in the armour of man ; her yellow hair is loose behmd, 
her bow in her hand. She followed the youth to the 
war, Connal, her much beloved. She drew the string 
on Dargo ; but erring, pierced her Connal. He falls 
like an oak on the plain ; hke a rock from the shaggy 
hill. Vrhat shall she do, hapless maid ? He bleeds ; 
her Conn;d dies. All the night long she cries, and all 
the day, " O Connal, my love and my friend i" W^ith 
grief tiie sad mourner dies. Earth here incloses the 
loveliest pair on the hill. The grass grows between the 
stones of the tomb ; I often sit in the mournfjl shade. 
The wind sighs through the grass ; their mxmory ru^^h- 
es on my mmd. Undisturbed you now sleep together ; 
in the tomb of the mountain you re?t alone. 

" And soft be your rest," said Utha, " children of 
streamy Lotha. I will remember you widi tears, and 
my secret song shall rise ; when the wind is in the 
groves of Tora, and the stream is roaring near. Then 
shall ye come on my soul, with all your lovely grief.'* 

Three days feasted the kings : on the fourth, their 
white sails arose. The winds of the north carry the 
ship of Fingal to Morven's woody land. But the spi- 
rit of Loda, sat in his cloud, behind the ships of Fro- 
thai. He hung forward with d\ his blasts, aad spread 

Vol. II. E 


the wlilte-bosomed sails. The v/ounds of his form' 
were not forgot j he still feared ^ the hand of the king^- 

w The story of Fingal and the spirit of Loda, supposed to be the 
famous Odin, is tlie most extravagant fiction in all Ossian's poems. 
It is not, however, witliont precedents in the best poets; and it must 
be said for Ossian, that he *nys nothing but what perfectly agred wltli 
tue notions of the times, concerning ghosts. Thevlrhought the soul's 
of the dead were material, and consequently susceptible of pain. 
Whether a proof could be drawn from this passage, that Ossian had 
no notion of a divinity, I shall leave for other* to determine: it ap- 
pears, however, that he was of opinion, that supfiior beings oHgkt' 
t« taks no notice of what patsed among men. 



Thi«pocm fixes the antiquity of a custom, wliich is v>xU known fo 
have prevailed, afterwards, in the north of Scotland, and in Ire? 
Lmd. The bards, at an annual feast, provided by the kii g or 
chief. rei>ea ted their puenis, and such of them as were thought, by 
hin-., worthy cf being preserved, were carefully taught to their 
children, in order to have them transmitted to posterity. It was 
one of those occasions afforded the sutject of the present po- 
em to Osjian. It is called in the orij^hial. The ScJUj^s of Stlma, 
wliich title it was thought proper to adopt in the transliticn. 

The poem is entirely lyric, and has great variety of versification. 
The address to the e^ ening star, with which it open.s has, in the 
original, all the harmony that numbers could give itj lowing 
down with all that traniiuillity and softness, which the scene de- 
scribed naturally inspires. 

STAR of the descending night! fair is thy light in tlie 
west ! thou hftest thy unshorn head from thy cloud ; 
thv steps are stately on thy hill. What dost thou he- 
hold in the plain i The storn:\y winds are laid. The 
murmur of the torrent comes from alar. Roaring waves 
climb the distant rock. The flics of evening are on 
their feeble wings, and the hum of their course is on the 
iield. What dost thou behold, fair hght ? But thou 
ciost smile and depart. The waves come with joy a^ 
round thee, and bathe thy lovely hair. Farcvvel, thou 
silent beam ! Let the light of Ossian's soul arise. 

And it does arise in its strength ! I behold my de- 
parted triends. Their gathering is on Lora, as in the 
days that are past. Fingal came Hke a v/atry column 
of mist ; hib heroes are around. And see the birds of 
the song, grey-liaired Ullin; stately Rynoj Alpin^, 

a Alpin is from the same root with Albion, or rather Albin, the 
anQent ijamj of Britain : Aid, ♦ high in land, or country.' The pre- 
sent name of our island has its origin in tlie Celtic tongue ; so that 
those who derived it from aijy other betrayed their ignorance cf the 
V-deiit Ujiguage cf our country. Britaia comes from ireact'i^ 


with the tuneful voice, and the soft complaint of Mino- 
na ! How are ye changed, my friends, since the days of 
Selma's feast ! when we contended, Hke the gales of 
tJie spring, that, Hying over the hill, by turns bend the 
feebly-whistling grass. 

Minona came toi th in her beauty ; with down- 
cast look and tearful eye ; her hair Hew slowly on the 
blast that rushed unfrequent frorn the hill. The souls 
ot the heroes were sad when she raised the tuneful voice : 
for often had they seen the grave of SaJgar '>, and the 
dark dwelling of white-bosomed Colma i-. Colma left 
alone on the hill, with all her voice of music ! Salgar 
promised to come : but the night descended round. 
Hear the voiceof Colma, when she sat alone on the hill! 

Colma. It is night ; I am alone, forlorn on the hill of 
storms. The wirid is heard in the mountain. The 
torrent shrieks down the rock. No hut receives me 
from the rain ; forlorn on tlie hill of winds. 

^ Rise, moon ! from behind thy clouds ; stars of the 
night appear ! Lead me, some light, to the place where 
my love rests from the toil of the chase ; his bow near 
him, unstrung ; his dogs pimting around him. But 
here I must sit alone, by the rock of the mossy stream. 
The stream and the wind roar, nor can I hear the 
voice of my love. Why delays my Salgar, why the son 
of the hill, his promise ? Here is the rock, and the tree ; 
and here tlie roaring stream. Thou didst promise with 
night to be here. Ah ! whither is my Salgar gone ? 
With thee I v\'ould fly, my father ; with thee, my bro- 
ther of pride. Our race have long been foes ; but we 
are not foes, O Salgar ! 

Cease a little while, O wind ! stream, be thou silent a 
while ! let my voice be heard over the heath ; let my 
v/anderer hear me.* Salgar ! it is I who call. Here is 

* varicsaterl Uland,' so called from the face of the country, from the 
natives paiuting themselves, or from their party-coloured cloiths, 

b Sealg-'er. ♦ a hunter." 

c Cul-aiatl!, ' a woxan with fine kair.' 


the tree nnd the rock. Salgar, my love ! I iim here. 
Why dehyest thou thy coming ? Lo ! the moon ap^ 
pear'fclh. The liood is bright ip the vale. The rocks 
are grey on the face of the hill. But I see him not on 
the brt)\v ; his d,ogs before him tell not that he is com^ 
ing- Here I must iit alone. 

Bnt who are these that lie beyond me on the heath ? 
Are they my lovsj and my brother ? Speak to me, O 
ji)y fritnds ! they answer not. My soul is tormented 
jkvith fears. Ah ! they are dead. Their swords are 
red from the fght. O my brotlier ! my brother ! why 
hast diou slain my Salgar? Vv'hy, O Salgar ! hast thou 
slain my brother ? Dear were ye both to me ! "What 
shall I say in your i)raise ? Thou wert fair in the hill 
among thousands ; he was terrible in fight. Speak to 
me ; hear my voice, sons of my love ! But alas ! they 
are silent ; silent for ever ! Cold are theu" breasts of 
clay ! Oh ! from the rock of the hill, f/om the top of 
die windy mountain, speak ye ghosts of tlic dead 1 
speak, I v.iJl not be alVaid. \\''hither are ye gone to 
rest ? In what cave of the hill shall 1 tind you ? No 
feeble voice is on the y/inci : no answer half-drowned 
in the storms oi' the hill, 

I sit in my grief. I wait for morning In my tears! 
Rear die tomb, ye friends of the dead : but close it not 
till Colma come. My Hfc llies away like a dream: 
why should I stay behind ! Here shall I rest with my 
friends, by the stream of the sounding rock. When 
night comes on the hill; when the wind is en the 
heath ; my ghost shall stand in the wind, and mourn 
the death of my friends. The hunter shall hear from 
his booth. He shall fear, but love my voice. For 
sweet shall my voice be for my friends j for pleasant 
were they both to me. 

Such v;as thy song, Minona, sofily-bluslung matd cf 
Torruan. Our tears descended for Colma, and our 
souls were sad. Ullin came with the harp, and gave 
the song of Alpin. The voice of Alpin was pleasant ; 
the soul of Ryno was a beam of iirc. J3iit they Imd 

h 3 


rested in the narrow house : and their voice was rtot 
heard in Selma. Uliin had returned one day from the 
chase, before the heroes fell. He heard their strife on 
the hilj ; their song was soft, but sad. They mourned ' 
the fall oi' Morar, first of mortal me-^. His soul was 
like the soul of Fingal ; his sword like the sword of 
Oscar. But he fell, and his father mourned : his sis- 
ters eyes were full of teais. Minona's eyes were full 
of tears, the sister of car-borne Morar. She retired 
from the song of Ullin, like the moon in the west, 
when she foresees the shower, and hides her fair head 
in a cloud. I touched the harp with Ullin ; the song 
of mourning rose. 

R Y N o. The wind and the rain are over : calm is the 
noon of day. The clouds are divided in heaven. O- 
ver the green hills flies the inconstant sun. Red thro* 
the stony vale comes down the stream of the hill. 
Sweet are thy murmurs, O stream ! but more sweet is_ 
the voice I hear. It is the voice of Alpin, the son of 
song, mourning for the dead. Bent is his head of age, 
and red his tearful eye. Alpin, thou son of song, why 
alone on the silent hill ? why complainest thou, as a 
blast in the wood ? as a wave on the lonely shore i 

Alpin. My tears, O Ryno ! are for the dead ; my 
voice for the inhabitants oF the grave. Tall thou art 
on the hill ; fair among the sons of the plain. But 
thou shalt fall like Morar'J ; and the mourner shall sit 
on thy tomb. The hills shall know thee no more ; 
thy bow shall He in the hall unstrung. 

Thou wert swift, O Morar ! as a roe on the hill : 
terrible as a meteor of fire. Thy v/rath was as the 
Etorm. Thy sword in battle, as lightning in the field. 
Thy voice was like a stream after rain ; like thunder 
on distant hills. Many fell by thy arm ; they were 
consumed in the flames of thy wrath. But when thou 
didst return from war, how peaceful was thy brow ! 
Thy face was hke the sun after rain ! like the moon in 

d Mor-er, ' great ir.aR.* 


he silence of night; calm as the breast of the hkt 
when the loud wind is l.iid. 

NiiiTow is thy dwelling now ; dark the place oF 
thine abode. With three steps I compass thy grave, O 
thou who wast so great before ! Four stones, witli theif 
heads of moss, are the only memorial of thee. A tree 
with scarce a leaf, long grass which whistles in the 
wind, mark to the liunter's eye tiie grave of the migh- 
ty Morar. Morar, thou ait low indeed. Thou hast no 
mother to mourn thee ; no maid with her tears of love. 
Dead is she that brought thee forth. Fallen is the 
daughter of Morglan. 

Who on his staif is this ! who is this whose head is 
white with age, whose eves are red with tears, who 
quakes at every step ! It is thy fathers, O Morar ! the 
father of no son but thee. lie heard of thy fame in. 
battle ; he heard of foes dispersed. He heard of Mo- 
rar's fame ; why did he not hear of his v/ound : Weep,. 
thou father of P/Iorar ; weep ; but thy son heareth thee: 
not. Deep is the sleep of the dead ; low their pillow" 
of dust. No more shall he hear thy voice ; no more: 
sliali he awake at thy call. When sh>:ll it be morn in 
die grave, to bid the slumberer awake: Farewel, thou, 
bravest of men ! thou conqueror in the field ! but the: 
field shall see thee no more ; nor the dark wood ba 
lightened with the splendour of thy steel. Thou hart 
left no son. But the song shall preserve thy name. Fu- 
ture times shall hear of thee ; tliey shall hear of the fal- 
len Morar. 

The grief of all arose, but most the bursting sigh of 
Armin *. He remembers the death of his son, who 
fell in the days of his youth. Carmor g was near the 
hero, the chief of the echoing Galmal. Why bursts 
the sigh of Armin? he said; is there a cause to mourn? 

c Torman, the son of Carthul, lord of I-raora, one of the wcsterc. 

f Armin, ' a hero.* Ke was chief, or pet»y king of Gorir.a, L ^ 
*flie blue island ;' supposed to be one of the Hehridcs. 
g Cc»r-mor, ' & tall datk-gompiixi'jacd mam.* 


The song comes, with its music, to melt and please the 
soul. It is like soft mist, that, rising from a lake, pouri 
on the silent vale ; the green iiowers are filled with dew, 
bu!: the sun returns in his strength, and the mist is gone. 
Why art thou sad, O Armin, chief of the sea-surround- 
ed Gorma ? 

Sad I am indeed : nor small my cause of wo ! Car- 
mor, thou hast lost no son ; 'thou hastiost no daughter of 
beauty. Colgar the valiant jives ; and Ann;ra, fairesf 
maid. The bows of thy family flourish, O Carmor S 
.but Armin is the last of his race. Dark is thy b^d, O 
Daura ! %nd deep thy sleep in the tomb. V/hen shait 
thou av/ake withthy song ? v/ith all thy vqicc of mu- 
sic ? 

Arise, winds of autumn, arise ; blow upon the dark 
heath ! streams of the mountains, roar 1 howl, ye tem- 
pests, in the top of tlie oak 1 v/alk through broken 
clouds, O moon ! shov/ by intjrvMls thy pale face ! 
bring to my mind that sad mght, v\iien ah my childrea 
fell ; when Arindal the mighty fell ; when Daura the 
lovely failed. Daura, njv daughter I thou w^rt fair j 
fair as the moon on the hills of Fura'^ ; white as the 
driven snow ; sweet as the breathing gale. Arindal, thy 
how was strong, thy spear was swift in the field : thy 
look was like mist on the wave ; diy shield a red cloud 
m a storm. Armar renowned in war, came, and sought 
Daura's love ; he was not long denied ; fair v/as die 
hope of their friends, 

Erath, son of Odgal. repined ; for his brother was 
slain by Armar. He came disguised like a son of the 
sea ; fair was his skiff on the wave ; white his locks ef 
age ; calm his serious brow. Fairest of women, he said, 
lovely daughter of Arinin 1 A rock not distant in the 
yea, bears a tree on its side ; red shines tiie fruit afa:^. 
There Armar waits ior Daura. I came to carry his love 
along the rolling sea. Shev/entj and she calkd on Ar- 
irar. Nought answered, but the soni of the rock. 

h Fua-ra, 'cold island.' 

. H/ rh.-: 3011 oi' UiC reck, tlie pest racm.. the etliying b.icl{ of ths 


Armar, my love 1 my love ! why tormentest thou mc 
with fear ? hear, son of Ardmirt, hear : it is Daura who 
calleth thee ! Erath the tra:tor iled laughing to the 
land. She hfted up her voice, and cried for her brother 
and her father. Arindai ! Armin ! none to relieve your 

Her voice came over the sea. Arindai my son 
descended from tlie hill ; rough in the spoils of the 
chase. His arrows rattled by his side ; his bow was 
in his hand: live daik-grey dogs attended his steps. 
He saw fierce Erath on the shore,; he seized and bound 
him to an oak. Thick bend the thongs k of the hide 
around liis limbs ; he loaded the wind with his groans. 
Arindai ascends the wave in his boat, to bring Daura 
to land. Ariniu: came in his wrath, and let ily the 
grey-feathered shaft, it sung; it sunk in thy heart. O 
Arindai my son ! for Erath the traitor thou diedst. The 
oar is stopped at once : he panted on the rock and ex- 
pired. V/hat is thy grief, O Daura, Vv'hen round thy 
feet is poured thy brother's blood? The boat is broken 
in twain by the waves. Armar plunges into the sea, 
to rescue his Daura, or die. Sudden a blast from the 
liill comes over the waves. He sunk, and he rose no 

Alone, on the sea-beat rock, my daughter was heard 
to complain. Frequent and loud were her cries ; nor 
could her father relieve her. All night I stood on the 
shore. I saw her by the faint beam of the moon. Ail 
night I heard her cries. Loud was the wind ; and ti^e 
ram beat hard on the side of the mountain. Bclore 
morning appeared, her voice was weak. It died away, 
iike the evening-breeze among the grass of the rocks. 
Spent with grief she expired, and left thee, Armin, a- 

human voice from a rock. The vulgar were of opinion, that this re- 
petition of sound was made by a spirit within the rock ; and they, 
on that acccount, called it 'mac-talla, the son who dwells in the 

k The poet here only means that Erath was bound with leatlj* 
em thongs. 


Jone. Gone is my strength in the war, and fallen my 
pride among women. When the storms of the moun- 
tain come ; when the north hfts the waves on high : 
I sit by the sounding shore, and lool; on the fatal rock. 
Often by the setting moon I see the ghosts of my chil- 
dren. Half-viewless, they walk in mournftil conference 
together. Will none oi" you speak in pity ? They do 
not regard their father. I am sad, O Gannor, nor small 
is my cause of wo ! 

Such were the words of the bards in the days of song ; 
when the king heard the music of harps, and the tales 
of other times. The chiefs gathered from all their hills, 
and heard the lovely sound. They praised the voice ' 
of Cona ! the first among a thousand bards. But age 
is now on my tongue : and my soul has failed. 1 hear 
sometimes the ghosts of bards, and learn their pleasant 
song. But memory fails in my mind : I hear the call 
of years. They say, as they pass along^ why does Ossi- 
an sing i Soon shall he lie in the narrow house, and no 
bard shall raise his fame. Roll on, ye dark-brown years, 
for ye bring no joy on your course. Let the tomb open 
to Ossian, fonhis strength has failed. 'Hie sons of song 
are gone to rest : my voice remains, like a blast, that 
roars, lonely, on a sea-surrounded rock after the v/indi 
are laid. The dark moss whisdes diere, and the diit^int 
mariner sees the waving treco. 

I Cssiaa is Sometimes poetically called tJie voice of Cpnac 




Tliis piece, a« many moreof Ossmn's compositions, is addressed to 
one of the first Christian niis.<ionaries. '1 he story of the poem ii 
handed down by tradition, tlius : In the conntry of the Britons 
between the walls, two chiefs Hved in the days of Fiogal, Dunthr.lo 
mo, lord of Teutha, supposed to be the Tweed; and Rathmorj 
who dwelt it Cluiha, well known to be the river Clyde. Rath- 
inor was not more renowned for his generosity and hospitality, 
titan Dunthalmo was infamous for his cruelty and ambition. Dun- 
thalmo through envy, or on acconnt ofsomeprivatc feuds, which 
subsisted between the families, mntdered Rathnior at a feast ; buc 
being aft':rvvards touched with reraorse, he educated the two sons 
•jf Rathn-or, Caklaon rfll Colmal, in his own home. They g;ow- 
inj^ up to t)2m's estate, dropped some hints that they intended t<!» 
revenf" *he death of their fathef, upon which Dunthalmo shut 
thern up in two caves on tlie banks of Teutha, intending to take 
them off privately. Co'mal th.e daughter of Dui tha'.mo, who wa-'? 
secretly in love vrith Ca'thcn, helped hhn totnake his escape froni 
prison, and Eed with him to Fingal, disguised in the habit of a 
yourj^ warrior, and implored hi« ail against Dunthalnio. Fingal 
sent Ossian with three hundred ^en, to Colmair's relief. Dt; 
no having previously mur.lered Cohnar, came to a hattie with Os« 
sb.n ; bnt iie was killed by tliat hero, and his army totally de- 

Cal-hon married Colma! hj» deliverer; and Ossian rctu ncd to MoN 

PL E A s Ji N T is the ^oice of thy "oii^, thou lonely d \vel«» 
lerof the rock. It comes on the sound of the stream, 
along the narrow vale. My soul awakes, O stranger I 
in the midst of my halh I stretch my hand to the spear^ 
as in the days of other years. I stretch my hand, but it is 
I'eeble ; and the sigh of my bosom grows. Wilt thou 
not listen, son of the rock, to the song of Ossian ? My 
soul is full of other times ; the joy of my youth returns. 
Thus the sun appears in the west, after toe steps of his 
brightness have moved behind a storm ; the green hills 
lift their dewy heads : the blue strganas rejoice in thr 


vale. The aged hero comes forth on his staff", and his 
grey hair glitters in the beam. Dost tliou not behold, 
son of the rock, a shield in Ossian's hail ? It is marked 
with the strokes of battle ; and the brightness of its bos- 
ses has failed. That shield the great Dui:-thalmo bore, 
the chief of streamy Teutha. Dunthalmo bore it in bat- 
tle, before he fell by Ossian's spear. Listen, son of the 
rock, to the tale of other years. 

Kathmor was a chief oi' Clutha. The feeble dwelt 
in his hall. The gates of Rathmor were never closed : 
his feast was always spread. The sons of the stranger 
came, and blest the generous chief of Clutha. Bards 
raised the song, and touched the harp : and joy bright- 
ened on the face of the mournful. Dunthalmo came, 
in his pride, and rushed into the combat of Rathmor, 
The chief of Clutha overcame ; the rage ot Dunthalmo 
rose. He came, by night, with his warriors ; and the 
PJighty Rathmor lell. He fell in his halls, where his 
feast was often spread for strangers. 

Colmar and Calthon were young, the sons of car- 
borne Rathmor. They came, in the joy of youth, in- 
to their father's halh They behold him in his blood, 
snd their bursting tears descend. The soul of Dunthal- 
mo melted when he sav/ the children of youth ; he 
brought them to Alteutha's ' walls ; they grew in the 
house of the foe. They bent the bow in his presence ; 
and came forth to Ivis battles. They saw the fallen 
v/alls of their fathers ; they saw the green thorn in the 
hall. Their tears descended in secret : and, at times, 
their faces were mournful. Dunthalmo beheld their 
grief: his darkening soul designed their death. He^ 
clorcd them in two caves, on the echoing banks of 
Teutlia. The sun did not come there with his beams j 

a A!-tei;t?is. or rather Baltetitha. ' tlie town of Tweed,' the 
T.ane of DunrhalmoV sf a^. It is observable, that ?.!! the names ii> 
tl::sprem, are derived fram the Galic language; which, as I have 
rf Harked in a preceding note, is a proof tlut U v.»s oacc theuJii- 
vertal bi-.guajc of the whole iiUr.d. 

.'i. POEM. 61 

nor the moon of heaven b^^ night. The sons of Rath- 
mor remained in darkness, and foresaw their death. 

The daughter of Dunthahiio wept in silence, the 
fair-haired, blue-eyed Cohiial '\ Iler eye had rolled in 
secret on Calthon ; his loveliness swelled in her souL 
She trembled for her warrior ; but what could Colmal 
do ? Her -arm could not lift the spear ; nor was the 
sword formed for her side. Her white breast never 
rose beneath a mail. Neither was her eye die terror 
of hcj-oes. What canst thou do, O Colmal ! for the 
falling chief ? Her steps are unequal, her hair is loose : 
her eye looks wildly through her tears. She came, by 
night, to the hall ^ ; and armed her lovely formin steel ; 
the steel of a young warrior, who fell in the first of his 
battles. She came to fhe cave of Calthon, and loosed 
the thongs from his hands. 

" Arise, son of Rathmor," she said, *'arise, the night 
is dark. Let us fly to the king of Selmad, chief of 
fallen Clutha ! I am the son of Lamgal, Vv'ho dv/elt in 
thy father's hall. I heard of thy dark dwelling in the 
ca\-e, and my soul arose. Arise, son of Rathmor, for 
the night is dark." " Blessed voice ! " replied the chief, 
" comest thou from the darkly rolling clouds ? for often 
the ghosts of his fithers descend to Cidthop's dreams, 
since the sun has retired from his eyes, and darkness 
has dv/elt around him. Or art thou the son of Lani- 
gdl, the chief I often saw in Clutha ? But shall I fly to 
Fiogal, and Coimar my brother low ? shall I fly to Mor- 
ven, and the hero closed in night ? No : give me that 
spear, son of Laragd, Calthon will defend his brother.'* 

b CaDl-nil'.al, ' a woman with small eye brows ;' small eye-brows 
vere a diNtinguishing part of beauty in Osslm's time : and he seldom 
fails to give them to tli« tine women of his poems. 

c Thp.t h, the hall where the arms tp.ken from enemies wer* 
hung up as trophies. Ossian w very careful to make his stories pro- 
bable ; for he makes Colmal put on the arms of a youth killed in his 
tirst battle, ax more proper for a young womnn, who cannot be sup- 
posed strong cRCj^l; ;o c--.r; the armour of 2 full grawn vvarviur. 

d Fingal 

Vol. II. £ 


" A thousand warriors,'* replied the maid, " stretch ' 
tlieir spears round car-borne Cohnar. What can Cal- 
iJion do against a host so great ? Let us fl y to the king 
of Morven, he will come with batde. His arm is stretch- 
ed fordi to the unhappy, the lightning of his sword is 
1 ound the weak. Arise, thou son of Rdthmor ; the 
'..hades of night will fly away. Dunthalmo will behold 
thy steps, on the field, and thou must fall in thy youth.''' 

The sighing hero rose ; his tears descended for car- 
boine Colmar. He came with the maid to Selma's 
hall ; but he knew not that it was Colmal. The hel- 
met covered her lovely face ; and her breast rose be- 
neath the steel. Fingal returned from the chase, and 
found the lovely strangers. Tl^ey were iike two beam.s 
of light, in the niidsi: of the hall. The king heard the 
tale of grief ; and turned his eyes around. A thousand 
heroes half-rose before him ; claiming the war of Teu- 
tha. I came widi my spear from the hill, and the jo'y 
of battle rose in my breast : for the kiag spoke to Ossi- 
an in the midst of the people. 

" Son of my strength," he said, " take the spear of ' 
Fingal ; go to Teutha's mighty stream and save the 
car-borne Colmar. Let thy lame return before thee 
like a pleasant gale ; that my soul may rejoice over my 
son, who renews the renown of our fathers. Ossian ! 
be tliou a storm in battle ; but mild when the foes are 
low : It was thus my fame arose, O my son ; and be 
thou like Selma's chief. "When the haughty come to 
my halls, my eyes behold them not. But my arm is 
stretched forth to the unhappy. My sword defends 
the weak." 

I rejoiced In the words of the king : and took my rat- 
tling arms. Diarane rose at my side, and Dargof king 

e Ciaran, father of that Connal who was unfortunately kilkJ hy 
Cfimora, nis mistress. 

f Darj;o, the son of Cttll.ith, is celebrated in otlier poems by Os.-.i- 
an. He is said to have been killed by a hoar at a huntin^j p.irty. 
'! lie lamentation of his mistress, or wife, Minpala, over liis body s 
extant ; but vvhv;iLcr i: is uf 'y}i^\^i gomposniyn, i *.a:;*onle&««iii'J.ViC, 

A POEM. 63 

of spear?. Three hundred youtlis followed our steps ; 
the lovelv stningers were at my side. Dunthalmo heard 
the sound of our approach ; he gathered th.e strength 
of Tcutha. He stood on a hill with his host; they were 
like rocks broken with thunder, when their bent trees 
are singed and bare, and the streams of their chinks 
have failed. 

The stream of Teutha, rolled, in it? pride, before the 
gloomy fje. I sent a bard to Dunthalmo to offer the 
combat on the plain ; but he smiled in the darkness of 
liis pride. Kis unsettled host moved on the hill ; like 
the mountain cloud, when the blast has entered its 
womb, and scatters tlie curling gloom on every side. 

They brought Colmar to Teuth.a's bank, bound with 
a thousand thongs. The chief is sad, but lovely, and 
his eye is on his friends ; for we stood, in our arms, 
on tHe opposite banks of Tcudia. Dunthalmo cam.e 

It is generally ascribed to him, and lia'^ much of his manner; h"t 
some traditions mention it as an imitation by some later bard. As it 
has some poetical merit, I hare subjoined it. 

'T'HE spouse of Dargo came in tears: for Dargo was no more ! Tl.e 
heroes si^h over Lartho's chief : and what shallsadMingalado J 
The dark soul vanished like morning mist, before the king of spears: 
bnt the penerous glowed in his presence like the morning star. 

Who was the fairest and most lovely ? Who bnt CoUath's stately 
son ? Who sat in the midst of the wise, but Dargo of the mighty 
deeds ! 

Thy hand touched the trembling harp : Thy voice was soft as 
summer winds. Ah rue ! What shall tlielieroes say? For Dargo-fell 
before a boar. Pale is the lovely cheek ; the look of which was tii m, 
is danger! Why liast thou failed ou ou: hills, thou fairer than the 
fceams'of the sun .' 

The daughter of Adonf.ort was lovely In the eyes of the valiant : 
she was lovely in their eyes, but slie cliose to be the spouse of Dargo. 

nut thou art alone, Mingala ! the night is coming with its cloudy ; 
vhcTC is. the bed of thy repo.>;e ? Where but in the tomb of Dargo ? 

Why (lo.-t tlion lift tl'.e stone, O bard ? why dost thou shut tli^ 
rarrow house? Mingala's eyes are heavy, b.ird I She must sleep with 

Uast night I heird tlie song of joy in Lartho's lofty hall. But 8i.« 
Icrtfc now dwells around my bed. Mingala rests with Pafgo. 


with his spear, and pierced the hero's side : he roll* 
ed on die bank in his blood, and we heard his broken 

Calthon rushed into the stream: I bounded forwaVd 
on my spear. Teutha's race fell before us. Night canje 
rolhng down. Dunthalmo rested on a rock, iunidst an 
aged wood. The rage of his bosom burned against the 
car-borne Calthon. But Calthon stood in his grief; he 
mourned the fallen Colmar; Colmax slain in youth 
before his fame arose. 

I bade the song of wo to rise, to soothe the mournful 
chief: but he stood beneath a tree, and often threw his 
spear on earth. The humid eye of rolled near 
in a secret tear : she foresaw the fall of Dunthalmo, or 
of Ciutha's battling chief. 

Now half the night had passed away. Silefice and 
darkness were on the field : sleep rested on the eyes of ' 
the heroes: Calthon's settling soul was still. His eyes 
were half closed ; but the murmur of Teutha had not 
yet failed in his ear. Fale, and showing his wounds, the 
ghost of Colmar came : He bended his head over the 
hero, and raised his feeble voice. 

*' Sleeps the son of Rathmor in his might, and his 
brother low ? Did we not rise to the cliase togetlier, and 
pursue the dark-brown hinds ? Colmar was not forgot- 
till he LU ; till death had blasted liis youth. I lie pale 
beneath the rock of Lona. O let Calthon rise ! the 
morning comes with its beams ; and Dunthalmo will 
dishonour the fallen." He passed away in his blast. 
The rising Calthon saw the steps of his departure. He 
rushed in the sound of his steel, and unhappy Colma! 
rose. She follov/ed her hero through night, and drag- \ 
ged her spear behind. But Y/hen Calthon came to Lo- 
na's rock, he found his falien brother. The rage of his 
bosom rose, and he rushed among the foe. The groans 
of death ascend. They close around the chief. He is 
bound in the midst, and brought to gloomy Dunthal- 
mo. The shout.of joy afose j and the hills of ni^ht 

A POEM. 6!) 

I Started at the sound : and took my father's spear. 
Diaran rose at n^y side ; and the youthful strength of 
Dargo. Wp missed the cliicf of Clutha ; and our souls 
were sad. I dreaded the departure of my f utie ; the 
pride of my valour rose. " Sons of Morven," I said, " it 
is not thus our flithers fought. They rested not on 
the Held of strangers, when tl\Q foe did not fall before 
them. Their strength was like the eagles of heaven : 
their renown is in the song. But our people fall by de- 
gi-ees, and our fame begins to depart. What shall the 
king of Morven say, if Ossian conquers not at Teutha ? 
Rise in your steel, ye warriors, and follow the sound of 
Ossian's course. He will not return, but renowned, to 
the echoing walls of Selma." 

Morning rose on the blue waters of Teutha; Colmal 
stood before me in tears. She told of the chief of Clu- 
tha : and thrice the spear fell from her hand. My 
wrath tui'ned against the stranger ; for my soul trem- 
bled for Cakhon. « Son of the feeble hand," I said, 
** do Teutha's warriors fight with tears? The battle is 
not won with grief; nor dwells th j sigh in the soul of 
war. Go to the deer of Carmun, or the lovv^ing herds 
of Teutha. But leave these arms, thou son of fear ; a 
warrior may lift them in battle." 

I tore the mail from her shoulders. Her snowy breast 
appeared. She bent her red face to the ground. I 
looked in silence to the chiefs. The spear fell from my 
hand ; and the sigh of my bosom rose. But when I 
heard the name of the maid, my crowding tears de- 
scended, i blessed the lovely beam of youth, and bad& 
the battle move. 

Why, son of the rock, should Ossian tell how Teu- 
tha's warriors died ? They are now forgot in their land ; 
and their tombs are not found on the heath. Years came 
on with their tempests : and the green mounds moul- 
dered away. Scarce is the grave of Dunthal,mo seen, 
or the place where he fell by the spear of Ossian. Some 
grey warrior, half blind with age, sitting by night at 
the flaming oak of the hall, tells uow my actions to his 

E 3 


sons, and the fall of the dark Duntlialmo. The faces of 
youth bend sidelong towards his voice ; surprise and 
joy burn in their eyes. 

I found the son g of Rathmor bound to an oak ; my 
sword cut the thongs from his hands. And I gave hirri^ 
the white-bosomed Colmal. They dwelt in the bails of 
Teutha ; and Ossian returned to Selma. 

g CaltJioiH 


A rOEM. 

Lathmon, a British prince, taking advantajre of Finj;ai's3Hsence :j< 
Ireland, made a descent on Morren, and ndvanced within si<:ht of 
Sclnia. the royal palace. Fingal arrived in tbe mean time, and 
Latlimon retreated t') a hill, where his army wa» surprised by 
iiiglit, and himself talcen prisoner by Ossian and Gaul the son of 
Morni. This exploit of Gaul and Oisian hears a nearTesemblance 
to tlie beautiful .pisode of Nijus and Euryalus in .Virgil's ninth 
..¥;neid. The poem opens w-th the first appearance of Fingal on 
the cca^t of Morven, and ends, it may be supposed, about noon 
the next day. 

S£ LMA^ thy haJls are silcn>*-. There is no sound in the 
woods of Morren. The wave UimbJes alone on 
the coast. The silent beam of the sun is on the fields 
The daughters of Morren come forth like the bow of 
the shower; they look towards green Ullin for the 
white sails of the king. He had promised to return, 
but the winds of the north arose. 

Who pours from the eastern hill, like a stream of 
darkness ? It is the host of Lathmon. He has heard of 
the absence of Fingal. He trusts in the wind of the 
north. His soul brightens with joy. Why dost thou 
come, Lathraon ? the mighty are not in Selma. Why 
comest diou with thy forward spear ? W^ill the daugh- 
ters of Morven fight ? But stop, O mighty stream, in 
thy course ! Does not Lathmon behold these sails ? 
Why dost thou vanish, Lathmon, Uke the mist of the 
lake ? But the squally storm is behind thee ; Fingal 
pursues thy steps ! 

The king of Morven started from sleep, as we roll- 
ed on the dark blue wave. He stretched his hand to 
his spear, and his heroes rose around. We knew that 
he had seen his fatliers, for they often descended to his 
dreams, when the sword of the foe rose over the land ; 
and tlic bat'ilfi darkened before ¥s. " Whither hast 


thou fled, O Wind :" said the king of Morven. '• Dcst 
thou rustle in the cliambers of the south, and pursue 
the shower in other lands ? "\Vliy dost thou Bot come 
to my sails ? to the blue face of my seas ? The foe is 
in the land of Morven, and the king is absent. But let 
each bind on his mail, and each assume his shield. 
Stretch every spear over the \\ave ; let every sword be 
unsheathed. Lathmon » is before us vv^ith his host ; he 
that fled '' from Fingal on the plains of Lona. But he 
returns, like a collected stream, and his roar is between 
our hills." 

Such were the words of Fingal. We ruslied into 
Carmona's bay. Ossian ascended the hill ; and thrice 
struck his bossy shield. The rock of Morven replied ; 
and the bounding roes came forth. The foes were 
troubled in my presence: and collected their darkened 
host ; for I stood, like a cloud on the hill, rejoicing in 
the arms of my youth. 

Morni c sat beneath a tree, at the roaring waters of 
Strumon d : his locks of age are grey : he leans for- 
ward on his staff; young Gaul is near the hero, hearing 
the battles of his youth. Often did he rise, in the Are 
of his soul, at the mighty deeds of Morni. The aged 
heard the sound of Ossian's shield ; he knev/ the sign 
of battle. He started at once from his place. His grey 
hair parted on his back. He remembers the actions of 
other years. 

a It is said, by tradition, that it was the intelligence of Latlimon's 
ir.Tasion, that occasioned Fingal's return from Ireland ; though Os-» 
sian more poetically, ascribes the cause of Fingal's knowledge to his 

b He alludes to a battle wherein Finpal had defeated Lathmon. 
The occasion of thii first war, between those heroes, is told by Ossian 
in another poem, which the translator has seen. 

c Morni was chief of a numerous tribe, in the days of Fingil, and 
his father Comhal. The last mentioned hero was killed in battle a- 
j a list Morni's tribe ; but the valour and conduct of reduce^ 
ih m, at last, to obedience. We tind the two hjerocs perfectly re* 
conciled in this poem. 

d Stru' mone, ' stream of the hill.' Here the yroper name of $ 
riVulct in the n^igUbmiriiood ef f<hiia, 

A POEM. 69 

" My son/' he sjiiJ to fair-haired Gaul, " I hear tliG 
sound of battle. The king of Morven is returned, the 
sign of war is heard. Go to the halls of Strumon, and 
bring his arms to Morni. Bring the arms which my 
father wore in his age, for my arm begins to fail. Take 
thou thy armour, O Gaul : and rush to the first of thy 
battles. Let thine arm reach to the renown of thy fa- 
thers. Be thy course in the field, like the eagle's wing. 
Why shouldst thou fear death, my son ? the valiant fill 
with fime ; their shields turn the dark stream of dan- 
ger away, and renown dwells on their grey hairs. Dost 
thou not see, O Gaul, how the steps oi^ my age are ho- 
noured ? INIorni moves forth, and the young meet him 
with reverence, and turn their eyes with silent joy on 
his coursf . But I never fled from danger, my son ! my 
sword lightened through the darkness of battle. The 
stranger melted before nae j the mighty were blasted 
in my presence." 

Gaul brought the arms to Morni : the aged warriov 
covered himself with steel. He took the spear in his 
hand, which was often stained with the blood of the 
vahant. He came towards Fingal, his son attended his 
steps. The son ofComhal rejoiced over the wariior, 
when he came in the locks of his age. 

" King of the roaring Stiiimon !" said the rising joy 
of Fingal ; " do I behold thee in arms, after thy 
strength has failed ? Often h-:: Morni shone in battk-s, 
like the beam of the rising sun ; when he disperses the 
storms of the hill, and brings peace to the glittering 
fields. But v hy didst thou not rest in thine age ? Thy 
renown is in the song. The people behold thee, ani 
bless the departure ot mighty Morni. Why didst thou 
not rest in thine age j' For the foe will vanish before Fin- 

" Son of Camh;^!," replied the chief, " the strength 
of Morni's arm has failed. I attempt to draw the sword 
of my youth, but it remains in its place. I throw the 
spear, but it falls short of the mark ; and I feel the 
weight of my shield. We decay like the grass of the 

VO LATH mom: 

mountain, and our strength returns no more. I liave a 
son, O Fingal, his soul has delighted in the actions of 
Morni's youth ; but his sword has not been lifted a- 
gainst the foQ, neither has his fame begun. I come 
with him to battle to direct his arm. His renown 
will be a sun to my soul, in the dark hour of my de- 
parture. O that the name of Momi were forgot a- 
mong the people ! that the heroes would only say, 
Behold the f itlier of Gaul." 

" King of Strumon," Fingal replied, " Gaul shall 
lift the sword in battle. But he shall lift it before Fin- 
gal ; my arm shall defend his youth. But rest thou 
in the halls of Selma ; and hear of our renown. Bid 
the harp be strung ; and the voice of the bards arise, that 
those who fall may rejoice in their fame ; and the soul 
of Morni brighten with gladness. Otsian ! thou hast 
fought in battles : the blood of strangers is on thy 
spear : let thy course be with Gaul in the strife ; but 
depart not from the side of Fingal ; lest the foe find 
you alone ; and your fame fail at once." 

I sav/e Gaul in his arms, and my soul was mixed 
with his : for the lire of the battle was in his eyes 1 he 
looked to tlae foe with joy. We spoke the words of 
friendship in secret; and the lightning of our swords 
poured together ; for we drew them behind the wood, 
and tried the strength of our arms on the empty air. 

Niglit came down on Morvcn, Fingal sat at the 
beam of the oak. Morni sat by his side with all his grey 
waving locks. Their discourse is of other times, and. 
the actions of their f ithers. Three bards, at times, 
touched the harp ; and UUin was near with his song. 
He sung of the mighty Comhal ; but darkness gather- 
ed f on Morni's brow. He rolled his red eye on Ullin ; 

e Ossian speaki*. TIic contrast between the old and young heroes 
is strongly marked. Tlie circumstance ff the laiter's drawiMg their 
fwords is well imagined, and agrees with the impatience of youag 
Siklicrs, just entered upon action. 

f Ullin had chosen ill the subject of his sonjr. The " darkness 
Whicli gachere4 on Myrnl's brow,'' did not proceed from any dislike 

A POEM. 71 

and the song of the bard ceased. Fingal observed the 
aged hero, and he mildly spoke. 

" Chief of Strumon, why that darkness ? Let the 
days of other years be foigoi. Our fathers contended 
in batde, but we meet together at the feast. Our 
swords are turned on the foes, and they melt before us 
on the field. Let the days of our tadicrs be forgot, 
king of mossy Strumon." 

" King of Morven," replied the chief, "I remember 
thy father with joy. He was terrible in battle ; the 
rage of the chief vv'as deadly. My eyes were full of 
tears, when the king of heroes fell. The valiant fall, 
O Fingal, and the feeble remains on the -hills. How 
many heroes have passed away, in the days of Morni ! 
And I did not shun the buttle ; neither did I fly from 
the striie of the vaHant. Now let the friends of JFingal 
rest ; for the night is around ; that they may rise, with 
strength to battle against car-borne Lathmon. I hear 
the sound of his host, like thunder heard on a distant 
hemth. Ossian ! and iair-haired Gaul ! ye are swiit in 
the race. Observe the foes of Fingal from that woody 
hill. But approach them not ; your lathers are not near 
to shield you. Let not your fame fall at once. Tha 
valour of youth may fail." 

We heard the words of tlie chief wid\ joy, and mov- 
ed in the clang of our arras. Our steps are in the 
\voody hill. Heaven burns with all its stars. The me- 
teors ot death fly over the field. Tlie distant noise of 
the foe reached our ears. It was then Gaul spoke, 
in his valour ; his hand half-unsheathed the sword. 

" Son of Fingal, he said, " why burns the soul of 
Gaul ? my heart beats high. My steps are disordered ; 
and mv hand trembles on my sword. When I look 
towards the foe, my soul lightens before mc, and I s^ 

lie had to's name, though they were fees, but from his fear 
thar the song would awaken Fingal to reuicmbrance of the feucis 
wliich had subsisted of old between their fainilics. Fingal's speech 
du this gctaiion ui>0URds witli i^cii£roii?y and good seirse. 

72 lathmon: 

their sleeping host. Tremble thus the souls of the va- 
liant in battles of the spear ? Hov/ would the soul of 
Morni rise if we should rush on the ivc ! Our renown 
would grow in the song ; and our steps be stately in 
the eves of the brave.' 

** Son of Morni," I replied, " my soul delights in 
battle. I delight to shine in battle alone, and to give 
my name to the bards. But what if the foe should pre- 
vail ; shall I behold the eyes of the king ! They are 
terrible in his displeasure, and like the flames of death. 
But I will not behold them in his wrath. Ossian shall 
prevail or fall. But shall the fame of the vanquished 
rise ? They pass away like a shadow. But the fame of 
Ossian shall rise. His deeds shiill be like his fathers. 
Let us rush in our arms, son of Morni ; let us rush to 
battle. Gaul ! if thou skilt return, go to Selma's lofty 
wall. Tell to Everallin that I fch with fame ; carry 
this sword to Brannu's daughter. Let her give it to 
Oscar, when the years of his youth shall arise." 

" Son of Fingal," Gaul replied with a sigh ; " shall 
I return after Ossian is low ! What would my fithcT 
say, and Fingal, king of men ? The feeble would turn 
their eyes and say, Behold the mighty Gaul who left 
his friend in his blood ! Ye shall not behold me, ye 
feeble, l;>ut in the m.idst of my renown. Ossian ! I 
have heard from m^y father the mighty deeds of he- 
roes ; their miglity deeds when alone ; for the soul 
increases in danger." 

*' Son of Morni," I replied, and strode before him on 
the heath, " our fathers shall praise oiu- Aalour, when 
tliey mourn our fall. A beam of gladness shall rise on 
their souh, when their eyes are fullof tears. They will 
say, Our sons have not fallen like the grass of the field, 
for they spread death around them. But why should 
we think of the narrow house ? The sword defends the 
valiant. But death pursues die flight of the feeble ; 
and their renown is not heard." 

We rushed forward through night ; and came to the 
roar of ix strewn which bep.t its bfe course round, the 

A POEM. 73 

foe, through trees that echoed to its noise ; we came to 
the bank of the stream, and saw the sleeping host. 
Their hrcs were decayed on the plain : and the lonely 
steps of their scouts were distant f;ir. I stretched my 
spear before me to support my steps over the streams. 
Bur Gaul took my hand, and spoke the words of the 

" Shall the son of Fingal rush on a sleeping foe ? 
Shall he come like a blast by night, when it overturns 
the young trees in secret ? Fingal did not dius receive 
his fame, nor dwells renown on the grey hairs of Ivlorni, 
for actions like these. Strike, Ossian, strike the shield 
of battle, and let their thousands rise. Let them meet 
Caul in his first batde, that he may try the strength of 
his arm." 

My soul rejoiced over the warrior, and my bursting 
tears descended. " And the foe shall meet Gaul," I 
said : " the fame of Morni's son shall arise. But rush 
not too fir, my hero : let the gleam of thy steel be near 
to Ossian. Let our hands join in slaughter. Gaul } 
dost thou not behold that rock ? Its grey side dimly 
gleams to the stars. If the foe shall prevail, let our 
back be towards the rock. Then shall they fear to ap- 
proach our spears : for death is in our hands." 

I struck tin-ice my echoing shield. The starting foe 
arose. We nislied on in the sound of our arms. Their 
crov/ded steps ily over die heath ; for diey thought 
that the mighty Fingal came; and the strength ol their 
jirms withered away. The soimd of their flight was 
like that of liam.e, when it rushes through the blasted 
groves. It was dien the spear of Gaul liew in its 
strength : it was then the svv'crd arose. Cremor fell, 
^nd mighty Leth. Dunthormo struggled in his blood, 
The steel rushed throudi Crodia's side, as bent, he 
rose on his spear ; the black stream poured from the 
wound, and hissed on the half-extinguished oak. Cath- 
niin saw the steps of the hero behind him, and ascend- 
ed a blasted tree ; but the spear pierced liim from be- 
hind. ShricluDQ^, Dr.ntin2:, he fell : moss and wither- 

Vol. II. G ' 

74 lathmon: 

ed branches pursue his fall, and strew the blue arms> 
of Gaul. 

Sucli were thy deeds, son of Morni, in the first of 
thy battles. Nor slept thy sword by thy side, thou last 
of Fingal's race ! Ossian rushed forward in his strength^ 
and the people fell before him ; as the grass by the staff 
of the boy, when he whistles along the field, and the 
grey beard of the thistle falls. But careless the youth 
moves on ; his steps are towards the desert. 

Grey morning rose around us ; the winding streams 
are bright alonj^ the lieath. The foe gathered on a hill, 
and the rage ot Lathmon rose. He bent the red eye 
of his wrath : he is silent in his rising grief. He often 
struck l\\s bossy shield ; and his steps are unequal on 
the heath. I saw the distant darkness of the hero, and 
I spoke to Morni's son. 

" Car-borne s chief of Strumon, dost thou behold the 
foe ? They gather on the hill in their wrath, let our 
steps be towards the king''. He shall arise in his 
strength, and the hf)st of Lathmon vanish. Our fame ■ 
is around us, warrior, the eyes of the aged i will re- 
joice. But let us fly, son of Morni, Lathmon descends 
the hill." " Then let our steps be slow," replied the 
fair-haired Gaul ; " le?t the foe say with a smile. Be- 
hold the warriors of night, they are hke ghosts, terri- 
ble in darkness, but they melt away before the beam 
of the east. Ossian, take the shield of Gormar who fell 
beneath thy spear, that the aged heroes may rejoice, 
when they shall behold the actions of their sons." 

Such were our words on the plain, when Sulmath k 
came to car-borne Lathmon : Sulmath, chief of Dutha, 
at the daik-rolling stream of Duvranna'. *' Why 

g Car l)orne is a title of honour bcsto^^•ed, by Ossian, indiscrimi- 
natelv on every hero; as every chief, in his time, kept a chariot or 
litter by way of state. 

h Fingal. i Fingal and Morni. 

k Suil-mliath, ' a man cf^dod eye-sight.' 

1 Dubh hhranna, ' diiik mountain stream.' Wlrat river went by 
this naii:?j in :!-.e d^ys i:f Oi»i..n, u MtcasHy asccrtaflued , at this dUt- 

A POEM. 75 

Sost thou not rush, son of Nnath, with a thousand of 
thyheroes? Why dostthounotdescend with thy hostbe* 
fore the warriors fly ? their bkie arms are beaming to the 
tising Hght, and their steps are before us on the heath." 

*' Son (<f the feeble hand," said Lathmon, " shall my 
host descend ? They are but two, son of Dutha, and 
shall a thousand lift their steel ? Nuath would mourn, 
in his hall, for the departure of his fame. His eyes 
would turn from Lathmon, when the tread of his feet 
approached. Go diou to the lieroes, chief of Dutha, 
for I behold the stately steps of Ossian. His fame is 
worthy of my steel ; let him fight with Ladimon." 

The noble Sulmath came. I rejoiced in the words 
of the king. I raised the shield on my arm ; and Gaul 
placed in my hand the sword of Morni. We returned 
to the murmuring sti-eam ; Lathmon came in his 
Ftrength. His dark host rolled, like the clouds, behind 
him : but the son of Nua<-h was bright in his steel. 

" Son of Fingal," said the hero, " thy fame lias 
grown on our fail. How many lie dierc of my people 
by thy hand, thou king of men ! Lift now thy spear 
against Lathmon ; and lay the son of Nuath low. Lay 
him low amongst his people, or thou thyself must full. 
It shall never be told in my halls that my warriors fell 
in my presence ; that they fell in the presence of Lath- 
mon when his sword rested bv his side : the blue eyes 
of Cutha^" would roll in tears, and her steps be lonely 
in the vales of Dunladimon." 

" Neither shall it be told," I replied, " that the son 
of Fingal fled. Were his steps covered vAth darkness, 
yet would not Ossian fly ; his soul would meet him and 
say. Does the bard of Selma fear the foe ? No : he does 
not fear the foe. His joy is in the midst of battle." 

Lathmon came on with his spear and pierced the 

tancc of time. A river in, whicli falls into the sea at RanfT, 
still retains the name of Duvran. If that is meant by Ossian in this 
passage, Lathmon must have been a prince of tlie nation, or 
those Caledonians who inhabited of old tlie eastern coast of Scotland. 
m Cutha appears to have been Lathmon's wife or mistrciis. 

TG ' latkmon: 

f^hield of Ossian. I felt the cold steel at my side : and 
drew the sword of Mcrni : I cut the spear in twain j 
the bright point fell glittering on the ground. The son 
of Nuath burned in his wrath, and lifted high his sound- 
ing shield. His dark eyes rolled above it, as bending 
forward, it shone like a gate of brass. But Ossian's 
spear pierced the brightness of it^ bosses, and sunk in a 
tree that rose behind. The shield hung en the quiver* 
ing lance ! but Lathmon still advanced. GauJ foresaw 
the fall of the chief, and stretched his buckler before 
my sword ; when it descended, in a stream of iightj 
over the king of Dunlathmon. 

Lathmon beheld the son of Morni, and the tear start- 
ed from his eye. He threw the sword of his fathers on 
the ground, and spoke the words of the valiant. " Why 
f^hould Lathmon light against the first of mortal men? 
Your souls are beams from heaven ; your swords the 
flames of death. Who can equal the renown of the 
heroes, whose actions are so great in youth ? O that ye 
were in the halls of Nuath, in the green dwelling of 
LathmoQ ! then would my father sa^-, that his son did 
not yield to the feeble. But who, a mighty 
stream, along the echoing heath ? the little hills are 
troubled before him, and a thousand spirits are on the 
beams of his steel ; the spirits n of those who are to fall 
by the arm of the king of resounding Morven. Hap- 
py art thou, O Fingal, thy sons shall fight thy battles ; 
they go forth before thee : and they return with the 
steps of their renown." 

Fingal came, in his mildness, rejoicing in secret over 
the actions of his son. Morni's face brightened v/ith 
gladness, and his aged eyes looked faintly through the 
tears of joy. We came to the halls of Selma, and sat 
round the feast of shells. The maids of the song came 
into our presence, and the mildly blushing Everallin. 

n It was thought, in Ossian's time, that each person had his at- 
tending spirit. The traditioos concerning this opinion are dark ani 

A POEM. 77 

Her dark hair spread on her neck of snow, her eyes 
rolled in secret on Ossian ; she torched the harp of 
music, and we bleiised the daughter of Branno. 

Fingai rose in his place, and spoke to Dunluthmon's 
batding king. The sword of Trennior trembled by 
his side, as he lifted up his mighty arm. " Son of Nu- 
ath," he said, " why dost thcu search for fame in Mor- 
ven ? We are not oi the race of the feeble ; nor do our 
swords gleam over the weak. When did we come to 
Dunlathmon, with the sound of war ? Fmgal does not 
delight in battle, though his arm is strong. My renown 
grows on the fall of the haughty. The lightning of 
my steel pours on the proud m arms. The battle 
comes : and the tombs of the valiant rise ; die tombs 
of my people rise, O my fathers ! and I at last must re- 
main alone. But I will remain renowned, and the de- 
parture of my soul shall be one stream of light. Lath- 
mon ! retire to thy place. Turn thy battles to odier 
knds. The race of Morven arc renowned, and their 
foes are the sons of the unhappy." 


A P O E M. 


Gaul, the son of Morn'i, attended Lathmon into his oWn cbuhtfy, aF» 
ter his being defeated in Morvcn, as related in the preceding poem. 
He was kindly entertained by Nuath the father of hathmon, and 
fell in love with his daughter Oithona. The lady was no less 
enamoured of Gaul, and a day was tixed for their marriape. In 
the mean time, Fingal preparing for an expedition into the coun. 
try of the Britons, sent for Gaul. He obeyed, and went; but not 
without promising to Oithona to return, if he survived the war, by 
a certain day. Lathmon too *ras obliged to attend his father Nu- 
ath in his wars, and Oithona was left alone at Dunlathmon, the 
scat of the family. Punromtnathj lord of Uthal, supposed to be 
one of Hie Orkneys, taking advantage of the absence of her friends 
tame and carried off, by force, Oithona, who had formerly reject- 
ed his love, into Tromathon, a desert island, where he concealed 
her in a cave. 

Gaul returned on the day appointed; heard of the rape, and sailed 
to Tiomathnn, to revenge himself on Dunrommath. VTlien he 
landed, he found Oithona disconsolate, and resolved not to sur- 
vive the loss of her honour; She told him the story of her misfor- 
tunes, and she scarce ended, when Dunrommath with his follow- 
ers, appeared at the further end of the iiiand. Gaul prepared to 
attack him, recommending to Oithona to retire, till the battle was 
over. She seemingly obeyed: but she secretly armed hcr-.elf, 
rushed into the thickest of the battle, and was mortally wounded. 
Gaul pursuing the flying enemy, found her just expiring on the 
field ; he mourned over her, raided her tomb, and returned to 
Morven. TJius is the story handed down by tradition; rorisit 
given with any m.iterial ditTeren.ce in the poem, winch open* 
vvitli Gaul's return to Duulathmoa, after the rape of Oithona. 

DARKNESS dwells around Dunkthmcn, though t!ie 
moon shows half her face on the hill. The daugh- 
ter of night turns her eyes av/ay ; for she beholds the 
grief that is coming. The son ot Morni is on the pUin , 
but there is no sound in the hall. No long streaming 
beam of light comes trembling through the gloom. 
The voice of Oithona a is not heard amidst the noiss 

a Oi vhona ' the virgin uf the wavc>* 

A f02M. f^ 

of the Streams of Duvranna. " Whither art thou gone in 
thy beauty, dark-haired daughter of Nuath ? Lathmon 
is in the field of the vaUant, but thou didst promise to 
remain in the hall ; thou didst promise to remain in 
the hall till the son of Morni returned. Till he returned 
from Strumon, to the maid of his love. The tear was 
on thy cheek at his departure : the sigli rose in secret 
in thy breasts But thou dost not eorae to meet him 
with songs, with the lightly-trembling sound of the 

Such were the words of Gaul, when he came to 
Dunlathmon's towers. The gates were open and dark. 
The winds were blustering in the hall. The trees 
strewed the threshold with leaves ; and the murmur of 
night was abroad. Sad, and silent at a rock, tlie son of 
Morni sat : his soul trembled for tlie maid ; but he 
knew not whither to turn his course. The son b of 
Leth stood at a distance, and heard the tvinds in his 
bushy hair. But he did not raise his voice, for he sav/ 
tiie sorrow of Gaul. 

Sleep descended on the heroes. The visions of 
night arose. Oithona stood in a dream, before the 
eyes of Morni's son. Her dark hair was loose and dir- 
ordered ; her lovely eye rolled in tear?. Bioocl stain- 
ed her snowy arm. The robe half hid the wound of 
her breast. She stood o\-er the chief, and her voice 
was heard. 

" Sleeps the son of Morni, he that was lovely in the 
eyes of Oithona ? Sleeps Gaul at the distant rock, and 
the daughter of Nuath low ? The sea rolls round the 
dark isle of Tromathon ; I sit in my tears in the cave. 
Nor do I sit alone, O Gaul, the dark chief of Cluthal i5 
there. He is there in the rage of his love. And what 
can Oithona do ?" 

A rougher blast rushed through the oak. The dream 

b Morlo, the son of Lcth,is one of Fincnrs most f.imous heroes. 
He and three other men aucuUed Gaul on his e:tpedition toTrotr.a- 


of night departed. Gaul took his aspen spear ; Ke 
stood in the rage of wrath. Often did his eyes turn to 
the east, and accuse the lagging light. At length the 
morning came forth. The hero lifted up the sail. The 
winds came rustling from the hill ; and he bounded on 
the waves of the deep. On the third day arose Tro- 
mathon c, like a blue shield in the midst of the sea. 
The white wave roared against its rocks ; sad Oithona 
sat on the coast. She looked on the rolling waters, 
and her tears descend. But when she saw Gaul in his 
arms, she started and turned her eyes away. Her love- 
ly cheek is bent and red ; her white arm trembles by 
her side. Thrice she strove to fly from his presence ; 
but her steps failed her as she went. 

" Daughter of Nuath," said the hero, *' why dost 
thou fly trom Gaul ? Do my eyes send forth the flame 
of death ? or darkens hatred in my soul ? Thou art to 
nie the beam of the east, rising in a land unknown. But 
thou coverest thy face with sadness, daughter of high 
Dunlathmon ! Is the foe of Oithona near ? My soul 
burns to meet him in battle. The sword trembles on 
the side of Gaul, and longs to glitter in his hand. Speak, 
daughter of Nuath, dost thou not behold my tears r"4 

" Car-borne chief of Strumon," replied the sighing 
maid, " why comest thou over the dark-blue wave to 
Nuath's mournful daughter ? Why did I not pass av/ay 
in secret, like the flower of the rock, that lifts its fair 
head unseen, and strews its withered leaves on the blast? 
Why didst thou come, O Gaul, to hear my departing 
sigh ? 1 pass away in my youth ; and my name shall 
not be heard. Or it will be heard with sorrow, and 
the tears of Nuath will fall. Thou wilt be sad, son of 
Morni, for the fallen fame of Oithona. But she shall 
fieep in the narrow tomb, far from the voice of the 
mourner. Why didst thou come, chief of Strumon, to 
tlie sea-beat rocks of Tromathon ?" 

** I came to meet thy foes, daughter of car-borne 

r 'rVcir.-'hon, • heavy or deep sounding wave.' 

A ror.rj. 81 

Kuath ! the death of CuthaPs chief darkens before me ' 
or Morni's son shall fail. Oithona ! when Gaul is low> 
raise my tomb on the oozy rock ; and when tlie dark- 
bounding ship shall pass, call the sons of the sea ; call 
them and give this sword, that they may carry it to 
Morni's hall ; that the grey-haired hero may cea?e to 
look towards the desert for the return of his son." 

" And shall the daughter of Nuathlive ?" she replied 
with a bursting sigh. " Shall I live in Tromathon, and 
the son of Morni low ? My heajt is not of that rock ; 
nor my soul careless as that sea, which lifts its blue 
wares to every wind, and rolls beneath the storm. The 
blast which shall lay thee lovv', skill spread the brarxhes^ 
of Oithona on earth. We ^hall wither together, son of 
car-borne Morni ! The narrow house is pleasant to me, 
and the grey stone of the dead : for never more will j 
leave thy rocks, sea-surrounded Tromathon! Night d 
came on with her clouds, after the departure of Lath- 
mon, when he went to the v/ars of his fathers, to the 
moss-covered rock of Duthormoth ; night came on, 
and I sat in the hall, at the beam of the oak. The 
%vind was abroad in the trees. I heard the sound of 
arms. Joy rose in my face ; for I tliought of thy re- 
turn. It v/as the chief of Cuthal, the red-haired strength 
T)f Dunrommath. His eyes rolled in fire : the blood of 
my people was on his svv'ord. They who defended 
Oithona fell by the gloomy chief. What could I do? 
My arm was weak ; it could not lift the spear. He 
took me in my grief, amidst my tears he raised the sail. 
He feared the returning sti-ength of Lathmon, the bro- 
ther of unhappy Oithona. But behold, he comes with 
his people ! the dark wave is divided before him I 
Whither wilt thou turn thy steps, son of Morni ? Ma- 
ny are the warriors of Dunrommath !" 

" My steps never turned from battle," replied the 
hero as he unsheathed his sword ; " and shall I begin to 
fear, Oithona, when thy foes are neaj" ? Go to thy cave, 

4 Oithona relates hew she was carried away by Dunrommath. 

82 oitmona: 

daughter of Nuath, till our battle cease. Son of Letk, 
bring the bows of our fathers ; and the sounding quiver 
of Morni. Let our three warriors bend the yew. 
Ourselves will lift the spear. They are an host on the 
rock ; but our souls are strong.'* 

The daughter of Nuath went to the cave ; a troubled 
joy rose on her mind, like the red path of the lightning 
on a stormy cloud. Her soul ^vus resolved, and the tear 
was dried from her wildly-looking eye. Dunrommath 
slowly approached ; for he saw the son of Morni. Con- 
tempt contracted his face, a smile is on his dark-brown 
cheek ; his red eye rolled, half-concealed, beneath l)is 
shaggy brows. 

" VV'hence are the sons of the sea r" begun th? gloomy 
chief. " Have the winds driven you to the rocks of 
Tromathon ? Or come you in search of the white-hand- 
ed daughter of Nuath ? The sons of the unhappy, ye 
feeble men, come to the hand of Dunrommath. His 
eye spares not the weak, and he delights in the blood 
of strangers. Oithona is a beam of light, and the chief 
of Cuthal enjoys it in secret : wouldst thou come on 
its loveliness, like a cloud, son of the feeble hand ? 
Thou mayest come, but shalt thou return to the halls 
of thy fathers i" 

" Dost thou not know me," said Gaul, " red-haired 
chief of Cluthal ! Thy feet were swift on the heath, in 
the batde of car-borne Lathmon : when the sword of 
Morni's son pursued his host in Morven's woody land. 
Dunrommath ! thy words ai^e mighty, for thy warriors 
gather behind thee. But do I fear them, son of pride? 
I am not of the race of the feeble." 

Gaul advanced in his arms ; Dunrommath shrunk 
behind his people. But the spear of Gaul pierced the 
gloomy chief, and his sword lopped off his head, as it 
bended in death. The son of Morni shook it thrice by 
the lock ; the w^arriors of Dunrommath fled. The ar- 
rows of Morv^en pursued them: ten fell on the mossy 
rocks. The rest lift the sounding sail, and bound on 
thQ echoing deep. Gaul advanced towards the cave of 

A POEM. 83 

Oithona. He beheld a youth leaning agaiast a rock. 
An arrow had pierced his side ; and his eye rolled faint- 
ly beneath liis helmet. The soul of Morni's son is sad ; 
he came, and spoke the words of peace. 

" Can the hand of Gaul heal thee, youth of the 
mournful brow ? I have searched for the herbs of the 
mountains ; I have gathered them on the secret banks 
of their streams. My hand has closed the wound of 
the valiant, and their eyes have blessed the son of Mor- 
ni. Where dwelt thy fathers, warrior ? Were they of 
the sons of the mighty ? Sadness shall come, like night 
on thy native streams; for thou art talien in thy 

" My fathers," replied the stranger, " were of the 
race of the mighty ; but they shall not be sad; for my 
fame is departed like morning mist. High walls rise 
on the banks of Duvranna ; and see their mossy towers 
in the stream ; a rock ascends behind them wit^h its 
bending tirs. Thou mavest behold it far distant. Tliere 
my brother dwells. He is renowned in battle : give 
him this glittering helmet." 

The helmet fell from the hand of Gaul ; for it was 
the wounded Oithona. She had armed herself in the 
cave, and came in search of death. Her lieavy eyes are 
half-closed ; the blood pours from her side. " Son of 
Momi," she said, " prepare the narrow tomb. Sleep 
comes, like a cloud, on my soul. The eyes of Oithona 
are dim. O had I dwelt at Duvranna in the bright beam 
of m.y fame ; then had my vears come on with joy ; and 
the virgins would bless my steps. But I fall in youth, 
son of JSIor.ii, and my father shall blush in his hall." 

She fell pale on the rock of Tromathon. The mourn- 
ful hero raised her tomb. He came to Morven ; but 
we saw the darkness of his soul. Ossian took the harp 
in die praise of Oithona. The brightness of the face of 
Gaul returned. But his sigh rose, at times, in the midst 
of his friends, like blasts that shake theii" unfrequent 
wiegs, aiter the stcrmy v/inds are laid. 

C R O M A : 



Malvlna tlie dauj^hter of Tcscaris overheard by Ossian lamenting tke 
death of Oscar licr lover. Ossian, to divert her grief, relates his 
own actions io an expedition which he undertook, at Fingal's com- 
mand, to aid Crothar the petty king of Croma, a country in Ire- 
land, again-it Rot.hmar who invaded his dominions. 'I'he story i? 
delivered down thus, in tradition. Crothar, king of Cronia, being 
blind with age, and hi.-, son too yonng for the field, kothinar the 
chief of Troinlo, re.solved toavail luniself of the opportunity offer- 
ed of annexing the dominions cf Crothar to his (.wn. He accord- 
ingly marched into the country subject to Crothar, but which he 
held of Arth, or ilrtho, who was, at the time, supreme king of Ire- 

Crothar, being, on account of his age and blindness, unfit foract'.on, 
sent for aid to Finga! king of Scotland; who ordered his son Ossi- 
an to the relief of Crothar. But l)efure his Fovar-gormo, 
the son of Crothar, attacking Rothmar, was slain himself, and ills 
forces totally defeated. Ossian renewed the war; came to bat- 
tle, killed Rothmar, and routed his army. Croma bting thus de; 
livered of its enem.ics, Ossiau jeturncd to Scotlanjl. 

** Tt was the voice of my love ! few are his visits to 
-*- the dreams of Maivina ! Open your airy hails, ye 
fathers of mighty Toscar. Unfold the gates of your 
clouds ; the steps of Malvina's departure are near. I 
have heard a voice in my dream. I ieel the fluttering 
of my soul. Why didst thou come, O blast, from tliQ 
dark-rolling of the lake ? Thy rustling v/ing was in 
the trees, the dream of Prialvina depaned. But she be- 
held her love, when his robe of mist ilew on the wind ; 
the beam of the sun v/as on his skirts, they glittered 
like the gold of the stranger. It was fiie voice of my 
iove ! fev/ are his visits to my dreams ! 

" But thou dv/ellcst in the soul of ?*5alvina, son or 
mighty Ossian. My siglis arise v/ith tl le beam of the 
east ; my tears descend with the drops c f night. 1 wr.s 
a lovely tree, in thy prcrenc:; C::Gar; ^viih ^lli^y branch/ 

A P©EM. 85 

C8 round me ; but thy death came like a blast from the 
desertjiind kiid my green hod low; thespringreturned 
with its showers, but no leaf of mine arose. The vir- 
gins saw me silent in the hall, and they touched the 
1 harp of joy. The tear was on the cheek of Malvina . 
the virgins beheW me in my grief. Why art thou sad, 
they said ; shou first of the maids of Luthia ? Was he 
lovely as tlic beam of tlie rriorning, and stately in thy 

Pleasant is thy song in Ossian's ear, daugher of strea- 
my Lutha ! Thou hast heard the music of departed 
bards in the dream of thy rest, when sleep fell on thine 
eyes, at the murmur of Moruth ^. When thou didst 
return fron) the chase, in the day of the sun, thqu hast 
heard the music of the bards, and thy song is lovely. 
It is lovely, O Malvina, but it melts the soul. There 
is a jov in grief when peace dwells in the breast of the 
&id. JBut sorrow wastes the mournful, O daughter of 
Toscar, and their days are few. They fall away, like 
the flower on which the sun looks in his strength alter 
tlie mildew has passed over it, anditshead is heavy with 
the drops of night. Attend to the tale of Ossian, O 
maid ; he remembers the days of his youth. 

The king commanded ; I raised my sails, and rushed 
into the bay of Crcma : into Croma's sounding bay in 
lovely Innis-fail K High on the coast arose the towers 
of Crothar, king of spears ; Crothar renowned in the 
battles of his youth, but age dwelt then around tlie 
chief. Rotlimar raised the sword against the hero ; 
and the wrath of Fiogal burned. He sent Ossian to 
raect Rothmar in battle, for the chief of Croma was 
the companion of his youth. I sent the bard before me 
with songs ; I came into the hall of Crothar. Thcrj 
sat the hero amidst the arms of his fathers, but his eyes 
had failed. His grey locks waved around a staff, or* 
which the warrior leaned. He hummed the song of 
other times, when die sound of our arms reached his 

a Mor'-rurli, * great stream.' 

b Innis-fail, one €1 tlif aativnt r.amci jf Iri'Ian*. 

Vol. II. i: 

8G CR.9MA : j 

ears. Crothar rose, stretched his aged hand, and bles^ I 
sed the son of Fingal. 

" Ossian," said the hero, " the strength of Crothar^s j 
arm has failed. O could I lift the sword as on the day 
that Fingal fought at Strutha ! He was the first of 
mortal men ; but Crothar had also his fame. The 
king of Morven praised me, and he placed on my arm 
the Dossy shield of Calthar, whom the hero had slain in 
war. Dost thou not behold it on the wall, for Cro- 
thar's eyes have failed ? Is thy strength like thy fa- 
ther's, Ossian ? let the aged feel thine arm." 

I gave my arm to the kin^ ; he feels it with his aged 
hands. The sigh rose in his breast, and his tears de- 
scended. " Thou art strong, rny son," he said, " hui 
not like the king of Morven. But who is like that he- 
ro among the mighty in war ? Let the feast of my halls 
be spread ; and let my bards raise the song. Gi eat is 
he that is within my walls, sons of echoing Crom?. 1'* 
The feast is spread. The harp is heard ; and joy is in 
the hall. But it was joy covering a sigh, that darklv 
dwelt in every breast. It was like the faint beam of 
the moon, spread on a cloud in heaven. At length the 
music ceased, and the aged king of Croma spoke ; he 
spoke without a tear, but the sigh swelled in the midst 
of his voice. 

" Son of Fingal ! dost thou not behold the darkness 
of Crothar's hall of shells i* My soul v/as not dark at the 
feast, v/hen my people livea. 1 rejoiced in tiie pre- 
sence of strangers, when my son shone in the half. 
But, Ossian, he is a beam that is departed, and left no 
streak of liglit behind. He is fallen, son of Fingal, in 
the battles of his father. Rothmai", the chief of grassy 
Tromla, heard that my eyes had failed : he heard that 
my arms were fixed in the hall, and the pride of his soul- 
arose. He came towards Croma ; my people fell before 
him. I took my arms in the hall; but what could sight- 
less Crothar do? My steps were unequal ; my grief was 
great. I wished for the days that were past. Days! 
wherein I fought and coD<iuered in tlic fiel^ cf bl;)QciM 

A POEM. 87 

My son returned from the chase ; the fair-haired Fo- 
Tar-gornioc. He had not lifted his sword in battle, for 
his arm was young. But the soul of the youth was 
great ; the fire of valour burned in his eyes. He saw the 
disordered steps of hisfather,andhis sigh arose. " King 
of Croma," he said " is it because thou hast no son ? 
is it for the weakness of Fovar-gormo's arm that thy 
sighs arise ? I begin, my father, to feel the strength of 
my arm ; I have drawn the sword of mv youth ; and I 
have bent the bow. Let me meet this Rothmar, with 
the youths of Croma : let me meet him, O my father ; 
for I feel my burning soul." 

" And thou shalt meet him," I said, " son of the 
sighdess Crothar ! But let others advance before thee, 
that I may hear the tread of tliy feet at diy return ; for 
my eyes behold thee not, fair-haired Fovar-gormo ! 
He went ; he met the foe ; he fell. The foe advances 
towards Croma. He who slew my son is near with all 
his pointed spears." 

It is not time to fill the shell, I replied, and took 
my spear. Mv people saw the fire of my eyes ; and 
they rose around. All mght we strode along the heath. 
Grey morning rose in the east. A green narrow vale 
appeared before us ; nor did it want its blue stream. 
The dark host of Rothmar are on its banks, with all 
their glittering arm.s. We fought along the vale ; they 
lied ; Rothmar sunk beneath my sword. Day had not 
descended in the west when I brought his arms to Cro- 
thar. The aged hero felt them with his hands ; and 
joy brightened in his soul. 

The people gather to thehall ; the sound of the shells 
i? heard. Ten harps are strung ; five bards advance, 
and sing by turns '^ the praise of Ossian ; they poured 

c Faobhar-gorm, ' the blue point of steel." 

d Thos:r extempore compositions were in preat repute amorig 
succeeding' bards. The jicces extant of that kind show more of the 
good ear, tlian of the poetical genius of their authors. The transla- 
tor has only met with one poem of this sort, which he thinks worthy 
jOi Jeing presciTcU. I^ is a thousand year* later than Ossian, but xhe 

S8 Croma: 

forth their burning souls, and the hdrp answered id 
their voice. The joy of Croma was great ! for peace 
returned to the land. The night came on with silence j 

atitliors ,«eem to have observed his manner, and adopted some of liis 
expressions. The stety iif it is tliis. Tive bavds pacing the nijjlit 
in the hoiis* of a chief, vsho was a poet himself, went severally to 
make their observations on, and returned with an cx'-empore de»- 
Aiption of night. The night happened to be one in Cictober, as ap- 
pears from the poem ; and in the north of Scotland. It !ias all that 
variety which the bards ascribe to it in their descriptions. 

■\JIGHT is dull and dark. The clouds rest on the hills. No stai 

witli j^reen trembling beam : no nicon looks from th.e sky. 
hear the blast in the wood; but I hear it di«rant far. The strcarri ] 
of the valley murmurs J but its murmur is sullen and sad. From the 
tree at the grave oi the dead, the long-howling owl is heard. 1 ^ee j 
a dim form on the plain ! It is a ghost ! It fades— it flies. Some 
funeral shall pass thi.s way : the meteor marks the path. 

The distant dog is howKng from the hut of the hill. The stag lies 
on the mountain inoss: the hind is at his side She hears the wind 
k\ his branchy horns. She starts, but lies again. 

The roe is in the clift of the rock; the heath-cock's head is be- 
neath his wing. No beast, no bird is abroad, but the owl and the 
howling fox. She on a leafless tree : he in a cloud on the hill. 

Dark, panthig, trembling,, the traveller has lost his Way. 
Through slirubs. through thorns he goes, along the gurgling rill. 
He fears the rOck and the fen. He fears the ghost of night. The 
old tree groans to the blabt; the falling branch re-sounds. The 
wind drives the withered burs, clung together, along the grass. It 
is ti'e light tread of a ghost ! he trembles amidst the night. 

Dark, dusky, howling is night ! cloudy, windy, and full of ghosts! 
The dead are abroad ! I5ly friends, receive me from the night. 


THE wind In up. The shower descends. The spirit of the mouiy 
tains shrieks. Woods fall from high. Windows flap. The growing 
river roars. The traveller attempts the ford. H-.trk, that shriek ! he 
di«s :— the storm drives the horse from the hill, the goat, the lowing 
cow. They tremble, as drives the shower beside the mouldering bank. 
The hunter starts from tieep in his lonely hut ; he wakes the tire de- 
cayed. His wet dogs smoke around him. He fills the chinks with 
heath. Loud roar two mountain streams which meet beside his 

6ad, on the side of a hai, t^ic wandecing shepherd site. The eree. 

A POEM. $9 

fi^d the morning returned with joy. No fo? came in 
darknefs, with his ghttering spear. The joy of Cronm 
was great ; for the gloomy Rothmar fell. 

Ghosts ride on the storm to night. Sweet is their voice between 
t]ic squalls of wind. Their songs are of other worlds. 

Ihe rain is pa^t. The dry wind blows. Streams roar, and win- 
dows flap. Gold drops fall from the roof. I see the starry fcky. 
But tl\e shower gatlicrs again. The west is gloomy and dark. 
Ki^ht ib stormy and dismal : receive me, my friends, from night. 


THE wind still sounds between the hills; and whistles throwgh 
the grais of the rock, f'he firs fall from their place. The turfy hut 
is turn. The clouds, divided, fly over the sky, and show the burning 
star*. Tiie n.eteor, token of death! Hies sparkling through tic 
gloom. It rests on the hill, I .see the withered fern, the dark-browed 
rock, the fallen oak. Who is that in his shroud beneath the tree, by 
the stream ? 

The waves darktumb'e on the la^e, and lash its rocky sMes. 
The boat is brim-full in the cove; the oars on the rocking tide. A 
maid sits sad beside the rock, and eyes the rolling stream. Her lo- 
ver promised to come. She saw his boat, when yet it was light oa 
the Like. Is this his broken t(oat on the shore ? Are tUese his groans 
on the wind ? 

Hark! the hail rattles aroimd. The fl.iky snow descends. The 
tops of the hills are white. The stormy winds abate. Various is 
the night and cold; receive me, my friends, from night. 


NIGHT is calm and fair; blue, starry, settled is night. The 
wind?, with the clouds are gone They sink behind the hill. The 
mooK is up on the mountain. Trees glister: streams shine on the 
rock. Bright rolls the settled lake; bright the stream of the vaie. 

I see the trees overturned ; the shocks of corn on the plain. Tlie 
vakeful hind rebuilds the .shocks, and whistles on the distant titld- 

Ca'm, settled, fair is night ! Who comes from the place of the 
dead? That form in the robe of snow ; white .irms and dark-brown 
hair! It is the daughter of the chief of the people; she that lately 
fv-'U ! Come, let us view thee, O maid ! thou that hast been t!ie de- 
light of hcrues ! The drives the phantom away; white, with- 
out form, it ascecds the hill. 

The breezes drive the blue mUt, slowly, over the narrow va'e. It 
rises on the hill, and joins its Jiead to lieav en. Night is settled, caiiu, 
blue, starry, bright with tiic Bieon. iiecclvc Tx r.^t, my ff!cr.Q>, 
for lo\ cly is the night ! 

i)6 CkOMAf 

I ralsetl my voice for Fovar-gormo, '.vlien they hbl 
the chief in earth. The aged Crothar was there, but 
his sigh was not heard* He searched for the wound of 
his son, and found it in his breast. Joy rose in the face 
of the aged. He came and spoke to Ossian. 

** King of spears !" he said, " my son has not fallen 

resounds above him. The stream roars fiown tlie rock. Ke wr.lts 
fertile rising moon to guide him to hiS) home. 


JJIGHT is calm, fjut dreary. The moon h m a cloud in the west. 
Slow moves tliat pale beam along the shaded hill. The distant \vaV>: 
islieard. Tlic torrent murmurs on the rock. '1 lie cock is heard 
from the booth. More than half the night is past. The house-wifii 
groping in the ploom, re-kindles the settled fire. The hunter thinka 
that day approaches, and calls his bounrling dogs. He ascends the 
hill, and whistles on his way. A blast removes the cloud. He sees 
the starry plough of the north. Much of tlie night is to pass; h? 
nods by tlic mossy rock. 

Hark ! the whirlwind is in the wood 1 A !o<«> murmur ift the vale ! 
It is the mighty army of the dead returning; from the air. 

The moon itsts behind the hi!I. The beam is still on that lofty 
rock. Long are the shadows of the trees. Now it is dark over a!!. 
Night is dreary, silent, and dark ; receive me.myfrisndSjfromnigkti 


Let ^^louds rest on the liills : spirits fly, and travellers fear. Let 
tlic winds of the woods arise, the sounding storms descend. Roar 
streams, and windows flap, and green winged meteors fly; rise the 
pale moon from behind her hills, or inclose her head in clouds; 
night is alike to me, blue, stormy, or gloomy the sky. Night flies 
before tlie beam, when it is poured on the hill. The young day re- 
turns from his clouds, but we return no m.ore. 

Where are owr chiefs of old ? Where our kjnps of mighty name > 
The fields of theit battles are silent. Scarce their moisy tombs re- 
main. We shall also be forgot. This lofty house shall fall. Our 
sons shall not behold the ruins in grass. They shall ask of the »ged. 
Where stood the walls of our fathers ?" • 

Raise ihe song, and strike the harp ! send round the shells of joy. 
Suspend a hundred tapers im liigh. Youths and maids begin tiie 
«iance. Let some grey bard be near me to tell the deeds of other 
times; of kings renowned in our land, of chiefs we behold no more* 
Thus let tl'.e night pa?s, until morning shall appear in our halls. 
T hen let the bow be at hand, the dogs, the youths of rfc Ctiase. We 
6h.Vl) a:jcend the ihil with day, and awake ths &Qtr, 

St A P02TVI. 

without his fame. The youag warrior did not f]y; 
but met dcatli as he went forward in his strength. Hap- 
py are they who die in youth, when their renown is 
heard ! Tlie feeble will not behold them in the hall •, 
or smile at their trembling hands. Their memory shall 
be honoured in the song ; the young tear of the virgin 
falls. But the aged v, iiher away by degrees, and the 
fame of their youth begins to he forgot, they fall in 
secret ; the sigh of their son is not heard. Joy is a- 
round their tomb ; and the stone of tlieir fame is pla- 
ced without a teai-. Happy are they who die io yoiith^ 
when disir renown is around thenj V* 



r'»>al, in liis voyage to Lochlin, wliUhcr he had been invited by 
Starnothe father of Agandccca, touched at Berrathon, an island 
of Scandinavia, where he was kindly entertained by Lartlimor the 
petty king of the pUce, vv-ho was a vassal of the supreme kings of 
J.ochlin. The hospitality of Larthmor gained him Fingal's 
friendship, which tliat liero manifested after the irapriionment uf 
Larthmor by his own son ; by sending Ossian and 'I'oscar, the fa- 
ther of N'alvina, so often mentioned, to rescue Larthmor, and to 
punisli tlie unnatural behaviour of Uthal. Uthal was handsonac, 
nnd much admired by the ladies. Nina-thoma the beaatiful 
daughter of Torthoma, a neighbouring prince, fell in love and 
iied with him. He proved inconstant j for another lady, 
ramc is not mentioned, gaining his affections, he confined Nina* 
tlioma to a desert island near the coast of Berrathon. She was 
rcjieved by Os>ian, who in company with To«car. landing on Ber- 
Tathon, defeated the forces cf Uthal, and killed hiiu in a single 
combat. Nina-thoma,' whose love hot all tlie bad behaviour of U- 
thalcotdd erase, hearing of his death, "died of grief. In the mean 
time Larthmor is restored, and Ossian and Toscar returned in tri- 
umph to Finpa!. '3 he prevent poem opens with an elegy on the 
death of Maiviua, the daughter of Toscar, and closes with presa- 
ges of the poet's deatli. 

EKKD thy blue course, O stream, round the narrow 
' plain of Lutha^. Let the green woods hang over 
5t irom their mountains: and the sun look on it at noon. 
The tlii-stle is there on its rock, and shakes its beard to 
the wind. The tiower hangs its heavv head, waving, 
ixt times to the gale. " Why dost thou awake me, O 
ji'ak?" it seems to say ; " I am covered with the drops 
of heaven. Tb.e time of my fading is near, ami the 
b'ast that shall scatter iviy leaves. To-morrov/ shall the 
traveller come, he that saw me in my beauty shall 
come : his eyes will search the field, but they will not 
7i:id me ! so ?h?.]l Lhey search in vain for the voice of 
fJona, after it has failed in the ^ield. The hunter shalj 

.t Lutha.Vswirtr.rta^::^,' 

A POEM, 03 

tome forth In the morninq, and the voice of my harp 
shall not be heard. " Where is the son of car-borne 
Fingal ?" The tear will be on his cheek. Then come 
thou, O Malvina'S with sJl thy music, come ; lay Os- 
sian in the plain of Lutha : let his tomb rise in tlie 
lovely field. 

Malvina 1 where art thou with thy songs, with tlie 
soft sound of thy steps ? Son c of Alpin art thou near ? 
where is the daughter of Toscar? " I passed, O son of 
Fingal by Tarlutha's mossy walls. The smoke of the 
hall was ceased : silence was among the trees of the hilJ. 
The voice of the chase was over. I saw the daughters 
of the bow. I asked about M:Jvina, but they answered 
not. They turned their faces away : thin darkness co- 
vered tlieir beautv. They were like stars on a rainy 
hill, by night, each looking faindy through her mist.'* 

Pleasant^ be thy rest, O lovely beam i soon hast thou 
set on our hills ! The steps of thy departure were state- 
ly, like the moon on the blue trembling wave. But 
thou hast left us in darkness, first of the maids of Lu- 
tha ! We sit at the rock, and there is no voice ; no 
light but the m.eteor of fire ! Soon hast thou set, Mal- 
vina, daughter of generous Toscar! But thou risest 
like the beam of the east, among the spirits of thy 
friends, where they sit in their stormy halls, the cham- 
bers of the thunder. A cloud hovers over Cona : its 
blue curhng sides are high,^ The winds are beneath it, 
with their wings ; within it is the dwelling of c Fingal. 

b Malmhina, ' soft or lovely brow.' Mh in the Galic language 
kis the same sound with V in English. 

c Tradition has not handed down the name of this son of Alpin. 
Hi^ father was one of Fingal's principal hards, and he appears him- 
self to have had a poetical genius. 

d Ossian speaks. He calls Mah'ina a beam of lifilit, and continues 
the n-.etaphur throughout the paragraph. 

e The description of this ideal palace of Fingal is very poetical* 
ard agreeable to the notions of times, concerning the state of 
the deceased, who were supposed to pursue, after death, the plea- 
sures anil etr-ploymcn** of tbsir fertiicr liii. T^ie siiuation af On'k: 

94 berratkon: 

There the hero sits in darkness ; his airy spear is in his 
baftd. His shield, half-covered with clouds, is like the 
darkened moon ; when one half still remains in the 
wave, and the other looks sickly on the field. 

His friends sit around the king, on mist ; and hear 
%}x songs of Ullin : he strikes the half-viewless liarp ; 
and raises the feeble voice. The lesser heroes with a 
thousand meteors, light the airy hall. Malvina rises, in 
the midst ; a blush is on her cheek. She beholds the 
imknown faces of her fathers, and turns aside her hu- 
mid eyes. " Art thou come so soon," said Fingal, 
*' daughter of generous Toscar ? Sadness dwells in the 
halls of Lutha. My aged^' son is sad. I hear the 
Ijreeze of Gona, that was v-ont to lift thy heavy locks. 
It comes to the hall, but thou art not there ; its voice 
is mournful among the arms of thy fathers. Go with 
thy rustling wing, O breeze ! and sigh on Malvina's 
tpipb. It rises yonder beneath the rock, at the blue 
stream of Lutha. The maids g are departed to their 
place ; and thou alone, O breeze, mournest there." 

But who comes from the dusky west, supported on a 
cloud ? A smile is on his grey watry face ; his locks of 
mist fly on the wind; he bends forward on his airy spear; 
it is thy father, Malvina! " Why shinest thou so soon 
on our clouds/' he says, " O lovely light of Lutha ? 
But thou wert sad, my daughter, for' thy friends were 
passed away. The sons of little menh were in the hall: 

an's herois, in their separate state, if not entirely happy, is more a- 
greeahie than the notions of the ancient Greeks concerning their tle- 
psTted heroes. See Horn. Odyss. 1 Ji. 

f Ossian ; who had a great friendship for Malvina. both on account 
of her love for his son Oscar, and lier attention to his own poems. 

g That is, the young virgins who sung the funeral elegy over 
her tornb. 

h Obsianjby way of disrespect, calls those who succeeded thehe- 
yces whose actions he celebrates, " the sons of little men." Tradi- 
tion is entutly silent concerning what passed in the north, iminedi; 
^teiy after the death of Fingal and all his heroes; hut it appears fronts 
t.^at term of ignominy just mentioned, that the actions of their sue- 

A POEM. 9i 

Snd none remained of the heroes, but Ossian, king of 

And dost thou remember Ossian, car-home Toscar i, 
son of Conloch ? The battles of our youth were many ; 
our swords went together to the field. They saw us 
coming like two falling rocks; and the sons of the 
stranger fled. " There come the u'arriofs of Cona," 
they said ; " their steps.are in the paths of the vanquish- 
ed." Draw near, son of Alpin, to the song of^he aged,. 
The actions of other times are in my soul : my memo- 
ry beams on the days that are past ; On the days of the 
mighty Toscar, when our path was in the deep. Draw 
near, son of Alpin, to the last sound of the voice cf 

The king of Morven commanded, and I raised my 
sails to the wind. Toscar chief of Latha stood at my 
side, as I rode on the dark blue wave. Our course was 
to sea-surrounded Eerrathon «, the isle of many storms. 
There dwelt, witii his locks of age, the stately strength 
of I-arthmor. Larthinor v, ho spread the feast of shells 
to Comhars mtghtv son, v.'^hen he went to Starno'r 
hails, in the days of Agandecca. But v/hen the chief 
was old, tlie pride of his son arose, the pride of fair- 
haired Uthal, the love of a thotsand maids. He bound 
the aged Larrhmor, and dwelt :r\ his sounding halls- 
Long pined the king in hu, beside his roiling, 
sea. Morning did not come £o liis dwelling ; nor the 
burning oak by night. But tl:e wind of ocean was; 
there, and Oie parting beam of the moon. The red 
star looked on the king, when it trembled on the west- 
ern wave. Snitho came to Sehn?.*s haJl ; Snitho, com- 
panion of Larthiror's youth. Ke told of the king of 
^Berralhon : tlie wratli of Fingal rose. Thiice he as-, 

cs«scrs were HOt to be compared to those of ihercnownea I i-.gaH- 

i Toscar was the son of that Conloch, wlio was also'.;er to the 
la<!y -Aho-^e '-.nfoftftr.ate death is related in the last ei Node cf thesf- 
co.-.d book ot Fingal. 

K Bar r«tbj.-, ' A proraontoi}- in :.*ie Kiiist of wav<s.^ 

96 berratmon: 

sumed the spear, resolved to stretch his hand to UthaL 
But the memory i of his actions rose before the king, 
and he sent his son and Toscar. Our joy was great on 
the roIHng sea; and we ofteij half-unsheathed our 
liwords. For ne\'er before had we fough.t alone in the 
battles of the spear. 

Night came down on the ocean ; the \yinds depart- 
ed on their v/ings. Cold and pak is the moon. The 
red stars lift their heads. Our course is slow along the 
coast of iSerrathon ; the white waves tumble on the 
rocks. ** What voice is that,'* said, Toscar, '* which 
comes between the sounds of the waves ? It is soft but 
mournful, like the voice of departed bards. But I be- 
hold the maidm, she sits on the rock alone. Her head 
bends on her arm of snow : her dark hair is in the wind. 
Hear, son of Fingal, her song; it is smooth as the ghd- 
iiig waters of Lavath.'' V/e came to the silent bay, 
and heard die maid of ni'ght. 

" How long will ye roll around rne, blue-tumbling 
waters of ocean ? My dvv^elling was not always in caves, 
rur beneadi the whistling tree. The feast was spread 
in Torthoma's hall ; my father delighted in my voice. 
The youths beheld me in the steps of my loveliness, 
and they blessed the dark-haired Nina-thoma. It v/as 
then thou didst come, O Uthal ! hke the son of hea- 
ven. The souls of the virgins are thine, son of gene- 
rous Larthuior I But wh^ dost thou leave me alone in 
the midst of roaring waters ? Was my soul dark- with 
thy death ? Did my white hand lift the sword ? Why 
then habt thou left nic alone, king of high Finthor- 
mo" ? 

! The meaning of the pucf is, tliat Fingal remembered his uwa 
2rcat actions, anu cop.sequently woulJ not .sully them by engnuin^ 
in a petty v/ar agalnit Uthal, who was so fur hie iufcrior in v.iIoui^ 
and power. 

in Kit;a thoma tlse daughrer of Torthoma, who had been confined 
to ■» desert island by her lovrr Uthal. 

n Finthormo, the palace of Utual. The names in this episode are 
.pot of a Ctlnc original : \jl\v^h iiiakes it pioLMLIe 05iia.n fouLiiii 

A POEM. 97 

i'he tear Started from my eye •when I h.eard the 
Voice of the maid. I stood before her in my armsf and 
spoke the viords of peace. " Lovely dweller of the 
cave, what sigh is in that breast ? Shall Ossian lift his 
sword in thy presence, the destruction of thy foes ? 
Daughter of Torthoma, rise, I have heard the words 
of thy grief. The race of Morven are around diee, 
who never injured the weak. Come to our dark-bo- 
somed ship, thou brighter than that setting mocn. Our 
course is to the rocky Berrathon, to the echoing walls 
of Finthormo." She came in her beauty, she came 
widi all her lovely steps. Silent joy briglitened in her 
face, as when the shadows liy from the field of spring ; 
the blue stream is rolling in brightness, and the greea 
bush beads over its course. 

The morning rose with its beams. We came to 
Hothma'o bay. A boar rushed from the v^'ood ; my 
spear pierced his side. I rejoiced over the blood",, 
and foresaw my growing fame. But now the sound c£ 
Uthal's train caiue from the liigh Finthormo ; they 
spread over the heath to the cliase of the boar. iiuTi- 
self comes slowly on, in the pride of his strength. He 
lifts two pointed spears. On his side is the bero'^ 
sword. Three youths carry hj^ polished bows : the 
bounding of tiv^dogs is btfoic him. His warriors move 
on at a distance,>.dnni ing tire steps of the king. State- 
ly was the son of J,arthmor ! but his soul was dark. 
Dark as the troubled face of the moon when it fore- 
tels the storms. 

We rose on the heath b^fiire the king ; he stopt in 
the midst of his course* His warrioii gathered around, 
and a grey-haired bard advanced. " Whence are the 
sons of the strangers ?" begun the bard. " The chil- 
dren of the unhappy came to BeiTuthon ; to the sword 

o Ossian thought that his killinp the, on his first landing itx 
Eerrathon, was a good omen cf his fuf; succws in that island. 
The present- Highlanders look, with a degree of superstition, upon 
the success of their first action, after th^y liave engaged 1a xay u«5- 

voiij. s 

i)» berrathon: ' 

of car-borne Uthal. He spreads no feast in his hall : 
the blood of strangers is on his streams. If trora Sell 
ma's walls ye come, from the mossy walls of Fingal, 
chuse three youths to go to your king to tell of the fall 
of his people. Perhaps the hero may come and pour 
liis blood on U'hal's sword : so shall the fame ofFin- 
thormo arise, hke the growing tree of the vale." 

" Never will I rise, O bard,'' I said in the pride of 
rnv wrath. ** He would shrink in the presence of Fin. 
gal ; whose eyes are the flames of death. The son of 
Comhal comes, and the kings vanish in his presence; 
they are rolled together, like mist, by the breath of his 
rage* Shall three tell to Fingal, that his people fell ? 
Yes 1 they may tell it, bard ! but his people siiall fall 
with fame." - 

I stood in the darkness of my strengtli: Toscar 
drew his sword at my side. The foe came on like a. 
stream : the mingled sound of death arose. Man took 
man, shield met shield; steel mixed its beams with steel, 
Darts hiss through air; spears ring on mails; andl 
swords on broken bucklers bound. As the noise of an 
aged grove beneath the roaring wind, when a thousand 
ghosts break the trees by night, such was the din of 
£rn"!s. But Uthal fell beneath my sword ; and the sons 
of Berrathon ficd. It was then I saw him in his beau- 
ty, knd the tear hung in my eye. " Thou art fallen p, 
young tree," I said, " with all thy beauty round thee, 
'j'hou art tallen on thy plains, and the held is bare. 
The winds come from the desert, and there is no souod 
in thy leaves : Lovely art thou in death, son of car- 
borne Lardimor/' 

Nina-thorna on the shore, and heard the sound 
of battle. She turned her icd eyes on Lethmal the 

p 'ro-n'Gurnovi.r the f^U of their enemies -.vas a practice univer- 
fial among Ossinn s heroes. Tiiis is more aj^rceiihlc to humanity, 
thantlie sliameful insulting of the dead, so common in Homer, and 
alter him aerviiely copied by all his imitators, the humane Virgil not 
(-Kccpted. \*'ho have hten more successful in borrowing the imper- 
J /.kiiv V- Uij: ■^r'-Jil pcvC, zUuii in ihc iinilatibns cf his beauiks* 

A PGtr^*. oy 

^ev-halre J bard of Selma. for he had remained on the 
const with the daughter of Torthoma. " Son of the 
tim£> of old !" she said, " I hear the noise of death. 
Thv frier.ds have met with UthaJ, and the chief is low! 
O that I had remained on the rock, inclosed with the 
tumbling waves ! Then would my soul be sad, but 
his death would not reach my ear. Art thou fallen on 
thy heath, O son of high Finthormo ! thou didst leave 
on a rock, but mv soul was full of thee. Son of 
high FintlioiTno ! art thou fallen on thy heatli ?" 

She rose pale in her tears, and saw the bloody shield 
of Uthal ; she saw it in Ossian's hand ; her steps v/ere 
distracted on the heath. She flew ; she found him :. 
she fell. Her soul came forth in a sigh. Her hair is 
spread on his face. My bursting tears descend. A 
tomb arose on the unjiappv, and mv song was heard. 
** Rest, hapless children ot youth ! at the noise of tha- 
raossv stream. The virgins will see your tomb at the 
chase, and turn av/ay their weeping eyes. Your fame 
will be m the song ; the voice of the harp will be heard 
in your praise. The daughters of Selma shall hear it ; 
and your renown shall be m other lands. Rest, childrea 
of vouth, at the noise of the mossy stream." 

Two days we remained on the coast. The heroes of 
Berrathon convened. We brought Larthmor to his 
balls ; the feast of shells was spread. The jov of the 
aged was great ; he looked to the arm.s of his fathers : 
the arras which he left in his hall, when the pride of 
Uthal arose. W'e were renowned before Larthmor, 
and he blessed the chiefs of Morven ; but he knew not 
that his son was lov/, the stately strength of Uthal. 
They had told that he had retired to the woods, with 
the tears of grief ; they had told it, bat he was silent 
in the tomb of Rothma's heath. 

On the fourtJi day we raised our sails to the roar of 
the northern wind. Larthmor came to the coast, atid 
his bards raised the song. The joy ©f the king w*5 


^reat ; he looked to Rotlima's gloomy heath ; he saw 
the tomb of his son : and the memory of Uthal rose, 
** Who of my heroes," he said, "hes there? He seems 
to have been of the king of spears- Wa? he renowned 
in my halls, before the pride of Uthal rose ? Ye arc si* 
lent, sons of Berrathon, is the king of heroes low ? My 
heart melts for thee, O Uthal ! though thy hand was 
against thy father! O that I h^d remained in the cave !. 
that my son had dwelt in Finthorrao 1 I might have 
heard the tread of his feat, whien he went to the chase 
of the boar. I might have heard his voice on the blast 
of my cave. Then would my soul be glad : but now 
darkness dwells in my halls." 

Such were my deeds, son of Alpin, when the arm of 
■my youth was strong ; such were ^ the actions of Tos- 
car, the cai-borne son of Conloch» But Tcscar is on 
K:S. flying cloud ; and I am alone at Lutha : my voice 
is like the last sound of the wind, when it forsakes the 
woods. But Ossian shall not be long alone, he sees the 
inist that shall receive his ghosts He beholds the mist 
that shall form his robe, when he appears on his hills. 
Tr^e cons of little men shall behold me, and admire the 
statu e of the chiefs of old. They shall creep to their 
caves, and look to the sky v/ith fear ; for my steps shall 
be in the clouds, and darkness shall roll on my side. 

Lead, son of Alpin, lead the aged to his woods. The 
winds begin to rise. The dark wave of th.e lake re- 
sounds. Bends there not a tree from Mora withits 
branches bare ? It bends, son of Alpin, in the rustling 
blast. My harp hangs on a blasted branch. The 
s^und of its strings is mournful. Does the wind touch 
thee, O harp, or is it some passing ghost ! It is the hand 
of Malvina ! but bring me the harp, son of Alpin ; 
another song shall arise. My soul shall depart in the 
sound J my hithers shall hear it in their airy hall. Their 
dim faces shall hang with joy from their clouds ; and 
their hands receive their son. The aged oak bend?? 
over the stream. It sighs with all its moss. The wU 

q OsiJan speaks. 

A TOT.X. 151 

fhered fern -thistles near, and mixes, as It wdvesj 
with Ossian's hair. 

Strike the harp and raise the song : be near with all 
rour wing*;, ve winds. Bear the mournful sound away 
to Fingal's airv hal). Bea** it to Fingal's hall, that he 
may hear the voice of his son ; the voice of him that 
praised the mightv. 

. The blast of the nortli opens thy gates, O king, and 
I beholdthee sitting on mist, dimly gleaming in all thine 
arras. Thy form now is not the terror of the valiant : 
but like a watery cloud ; when we see the stars behind 
it with their Weeping eyes. Thy shield is like the a- 
_ i moon t thy sword a vapour half kindled with fire i 
Dim and feeble is tire chief who travelled in brightness. 
before. But thy steps r are on the winds of the desert, 
and thft storms darken in thy hand. Thou takest 
the sun in thv wrath, and liidest liim in thy clouds. 
'J'he sons of litde men arc afraid ; and a thousand 
showers descend; B'Jt when thou comest forth in tliy 
mildness ; the gale of ths morning is near thy course* 
The sun laughs in his blue lields ; and the grey stream 
winds in it^ valley. The bushes shake their green heads 
in the -"vvvd. The roes bound towards the desert. 

But there is a murmur in the heath ! the stormy 
winds abate I I hear the voice of Fihgal. has it 
been absent from mine ear ! *' Come, Ossian, come 
?.way," he says : " Fingal has received his fame. We 
passed away, like flames that had shone for a season ;^ 
our departure was in vcxiov. n. Though the plains o: 
our battles are dark and silent, ovu' fame is in the four 
^ey stones. The veice of Orsian has been heard ; and 

r This magnificent dfscrlpHon of the powpr of Tingal over thr. 
wind-* and storms, and ilie image of his taking the sun, »nd hidinj 
him in the clouds, do no: correspond with the preceding paragraph' , 
V liere he Ls repreiented as a feeble ghost, and no more the " terror 
cf the valiant ;" but it agrees with the notions of the time*; concern- 
ing t\\e sou!s of the deceased, who it was supposed had the commanrt 
oi tlife wind* cnjd storn«8, but took no consenj in ttie affair* af mci>. 

10& berrathon: 

the harp was strung in Selma. Come, Ossian, goitk?, 

away," he sayr., " and fly with thy fathers on clouds." 

And come 1 will thou, king of men ! the life of Ossi- 
an tails. I begin to vanish on Cona; and my steps are 
Eot seen in Sejma. Beside the stone ot Mora I shall fall 
asleep. The winds whisdmg in my grey hair shall not 
v/aken me. Depart on thy wings, O wind ; thou canst 
not disturb the rest of the bard. The night is long, but 
liis eyes are heavy ; depart thou rusthng blast. 

But why art thou sad, son of Fingal ! Why growT^ 
the cloud of thy soul ? The chiefs of other times are 
departed ; they have gone without their fame. The 
sons of future years sfiall pass away ; and another race 
Jirise. The people are like the waves of ocean: like the 
leaves of woody Moryen, they pass away in the rusthng 
blast, and otlier leaves lift their green heads. Did thy 
beauty last, O Ryno » j' Stood the strength of car-borne 

s Ryno the Jfir ofFinjal, who was killed in Ireland, in the war 
?.gi«ift.t Swaran, (T^ii.gsl, B. V.) was remarkable fcrthe beauty of hi? 
person, his swiftness and great cxploit-S. Minvane, the daughter of 
Morni, and sister to Gaul, was in love with Kyns. ^1 he following 
is hcj lamentation over htr lover. 

O KE bUishinp Sad, from Morvcn's roc'-c?, bends over the darkly roll- 
^ ing \ta. She saw the youih? in all tncir arms. Where, Ryno, ). 
v.hcre art thou ? I 

Our dark looks toM that he was low ! That pale the hero flew oi^ 
clouds! Ihat in the gra*s of Movven's hills, iiis feeble voice was 
hrardin wind ! 

And is the son of rinp;a!f,il!eB, on Ullin's mossy plains? Strong 
js the arm that cpnquere^ hini ! Ah nie ! I am alone. 

Alone I will not be, ye winds ! that lift my dark, brown hair. My 
a^ihs will not joi g mix with \our stream ; for I must sleep with Ry- 

I see thee not with beauty's steps returning from tlie chase. The 
Kij^ht is round Minvane's love ; and .silence dwells with Ryno. 

\V here are thy dogs, and where tliy bow ? Thy shield that was soi 
etrcng? Thy swordlikcheaven'sdescencUng fire; Th? bloody spear 
i;fRyno! * 

1 Bee them mixed in thy ship ; I see them stained with blood. Ko, 
ar:n6 are in thy nanow h&Il, O dark'.y-dweUing :s.yno! 

A POEM. 103 

Oscar: Fi'ngal himself' passed away ; and the halls of 
his fatliers forgot his steps. And shalt thou remain, 
aged bard ! when the mighty have tailed ? But my famq 
shall remain, and giow like the oak of Morven ; which 
lifts its broad head to the storm, and rejoices in the 
course of the wind. 

When will the morning-come, and say, AfUe thou king of spears 1 
arkc, the hunters are abroad. The hinds are near thee, Ryno ! 

Away, thou fair-haircd,moming, away ! the slumbering king hears, 
thee not ! The hinds bound over his narrow tomh ; for death dwelU 
round >t)ung Ryno. 

But I will tread softly, tny king ! and steal to the bed of thy re- 
pose. Minvaiie will lie in sil^pce near her slumbering Ryno. 

The maid>i shall seek me; but chey shall not find nie ; they fhalj 
follow my departure with songs. Bat I will not hesr you, O auii^s J 
I sleep with fair haired Ryn«. 





Cairbar, the son of Borbar-duthul, lord of Ath* in Conn.anght, tii*: 
most. potent chief of the race of the Firbotg, havinj^ murdered, at 
Temora the royal palace, Coiinac the son of Arrbo, the young 
king of Ireland, usurped the tlirpne. Cornnac was lineally deicen- 
<!ed from Conar the son of Trcnmor, the great grandfather of 
Fingal, king of those Caleck'niars who inhabited the western coast 
of Scotland. Fingal resented the behaviour of Cairbar, and re- 
solved to pa^s over into Ireland, with an army, to re-establish thei. 
royal family on the Irish throne. Early intelligence of his designs 
coining to Cairbar, he assembled some of his tribes in Ulster, and 
at the same time ordered his brother Cathmor to follow him speed- 
ily with an army, from Temora. Such was the situation of affairs 
when the Caledonian fleet appeared on the coast of Ulster. 

The poem opens in the morning. Cairbar is represented as retired 
from the rest of the army, when one of his scouts brought him 
news of the landing of Fingal. He a?semblesa counciJof hiscbiefs. 
FoUlarh the chief of Moma haught!iy d2«pises the enemy; and \i 
reprimanded warmly by Malthos. Cairbar, after heanag their de- 
bate, orders a fe-ist to be prepared, to which, by his bard Oiia, he 
invites Oscar the son of Osiian; re.-olving to piclc a quarrel with 
that hero, and to have some pretext for killing him. Oscar came 
to thefea'-t; the quarrel happened : the followers of both fought, 
and Cairbar and Oscar fell by mutual wounds. The noise of the 
battle reached Fingal's army. The king came en, to the re ief of 
Oscar, and the Irish fell-back to the army of Cathmor, who was 
advanced to the banks of the river Lubar, on the heath of Moi le- 
na. Fingal, after mounung over his grandson, ordered I'llin the 
chief of bards to carry his body toMerven,to be there interred. 
Night coming on, Althan, the son of Conachar, relates to the king 
the particulars of the n.urder of Cormac. Fillan the son of l-inga', 
}s sent to observe the motions of Catlur.or by night, which con- 
cludes the action of the first day. 'i'he scene ef this book is a p'aia, 
near the hill of Mora, which rose on the borders of the heath of 
Mbilenain Ulster. 


THE blue waves of Ullin roll in liglit. The green 
hills are covered with day. Trees sliake their dus- 
ky heads in the breeze. Grey lorrects jour their noi- 

lOG temgra: BookU 

spear is like Slimora's fir, tJiat ir.cets the wind of hea- 
ven. His shield is marked with the strokes of battle ; 
and his red eye despises danger. These and a thousand 
other chiefs surrounded car-borne Cairbar, when the 
scout of ocean came, Mor-annal from streamy Moi-le- 
na. His eyes hang forward from his face, his Hps are 
trembling pale. 

" Do the chiefs of Erin stand," he said, " silent as 
the grove of evening ? Stand they, like a silent v/ood, 
and Fingal on the coast, Fingal, the terrible in battle, 
the king of streamy Morven !" " Hast thou seen the 
warrior ?" said Cairbar v/ith a sigh. " Are his heroes 
many on the coast ? Lifts he the spear of battle ? or 
comes tlie king in peace ?" " In peace he comes not, 
Cairbar. I have seen his forward spear c. It is a me- 
teor of death ; the blood of thousands is on his steel. 
He cam.e fir^tt to the shore, strong in the grey hair of 
age. Full rose his sinewy limbs, as he strode in his 
miglit. That sword is by his side v/hich gives no se- 
cond J woundw His shield is terrible, like the bloody 
moon ascending through a storm. Then came Ossian, 
king of songs ; and Morni's son, the first of men. Con- 
ral leaps forward on his spear. Dermit spreads his 
dark brown locks. Fillan bends his bow, the young 
hunter of streamy Moruth. But v/ho is that tetore 
them, like the dreadful course of a stream ? It is the 
son of Ossian, bright between his locks. His long hair 
falls on his back. I^s dark brows are half-inclosed in 
steel. His sword hangs loose on his side. His spear 

c Mor-annal here alludes to the particular appearance of Fingal's 
*pear. If a man upon liii landin;,' in a strange country kept the point 
•f bis spear forward, it cienoted, in those days, tl:at he came in a 
hostile manner, and accordingly lie was treated as an enemy j if he 
kept the point behind him, it was a token of friendship, and he was 
immediately invited to the feast, according to the hospitality of the 

d This was the famous sword of Fingal, made by Luno, a smith 
of Lochlin, and after him poetically called the son of I,\mo : il is said 
of this sword, that it killed a man at every strok* j that fingal iKver 
u«ed it but iH thne* ef the greatest damger* 

Book I. AN EPIC POEM. 107 

glitters as he moves. I fled from his terrible evcs» 
king of high Temora." 

.' "Then fly, thou feeble man," said Foldath in gloo.- 
my wrath. " Fly to tlie grey streams of thy land, son 
of the little soul ? Have not I seen that Oscar ? I l-veheI4 
the chief in war. Ke is of the mighty in danger; but 
tliere are others who lift the spear. Erin has many sons 
as brave, king of Temora of Groves ! Let Fuldath 
raect him in the strength of his course, and stop this 
mighty streaip. My spear is covered with the blood of 
the valiant ; my shield is like the wall of Tura. 

" Shall Foldath = alone meet the foe r" replied the 
dark-browed Malthos. " Are they not nunierous on 
our coast, like the waters of many streams ? Are not 
these die chiels who vanquished S\\ aran, when tlie sons 
of Erin fled ? And shall Foldath meet their bravest he- 
roes ? Foldath of the heart of pride ! take the strength 
of the people ; and let Malthos come. My sword is 
red with slaughter, but who has heard my uordsf?" 

" Sons of green Erin," said Flidailag, "' let not Fin- 
gal hear your words. The foe might rejoice, and his 
arm be strong in die land. Ye are brave, O v/arriors 1 
and Uke the stqrms of the desert ; they meet the rocks 
.widiout fear, and overturn the woods. But let us move 
in our strength, slow as a gathered cloud. Then shall 
the mighty tremble ; the spear shall fall from the hand 
of die valiant. We see the cloud of death, they will 
gay, while shadows fly over their face. Fingal will 
mourn in his age, and see his fl^nng fame. The steps 
of his chiefs will cease in jNIorven ; die moss of years 
ghall grow in Sclma." 

e The oppoMte Characters of Foldath and Malthos are strongly 
marked in sub.-.equ<;nt parts of tht puem. Tliey appear always in 
cpposuion. The feuds between their farrHlies, which were the 
iourte of their hatred to une another, are mentioned in other poems. 

f That is, Who has he^.rd niy vaunting? He incciuls the expres- 
sion jK a rebuke to the self-praise of Foliiath. 

g Hidailaw.-stliechief of Cioiua, aimalldistrictonthebanksof 
the lake of Lego, The btauty of his peraen,lsi, clj^iicace, afd "e- 
piui fcr po;:r/ are 3/'.e;r/ardo u\zr:U'jTX'^ 

108 temora: Bookii 

Cairbar heard their words, in siJence, likt the cloud 
of a shower : it stands dark on Cronila, till the lightning 
bursts its sides : the valley gleams with red light, the 
spirits of the storm rejoice. So stood the silent king of 
Temora ; at length his words are heard. 

" Spread the feast on Moi-lena : let my hundred 
bards attend. Thou red-haired Olla, take the harp of 
the king. Go to Oscar, chief of swords, and bid him 
to our feast. To-day we feast and hear the song ; to- 
morrow break the spears. Tell him that I have raised 
the tomb of Cathoi^ : that bards have sung to his ghost. 
Tell him that Cairbar has heard his fame at the stream 
©f resounding Caruni. Cathmor^ is not here, Borbar- 
duthul's generous race. He is not here with his thou- 
sands, and our arms are weak. Cathmor is a foe to 
strife at the feast : his soul is bright as that sun. But 
Cairbar shall fight with Oscar, chiefs of the woody Te- 

h Catliol the son of Maronnan, or Moran, was murdered by Cair- 
bar fjr Ills attachment to the family of Ccrniac. He had attended 
Oscar to the war uf Inis-thona, where they contracted a great friend- 
ship for one another. Oscar immediately after tlic death of CatlioI, 
had sent a formal challenge to Cairbar, which he prudently declined, 
but conceived a secret hatred against Oscar, and had before-haad 
contrived to kill him at the feast, to which ive here invitfjs him. 

i He aTludes to the battle of Oscar against Caros, king of ships; 
who is supposed to be the same with Carausius the usurper. 

k Cathmor, ' great in battle,' the son of Borbar-duthul, and bro- 
ther of Cairbar king of Ireland, had, before the insurrection of tke 
Firbolg, pasi-ed over into Inis-huna, supposed to be a part of South 
brirain, to assist Conmor king of tliat ylace against his eneories. 
I'athtTior was successful in war, but, in the course of it, Conmor wa* 
either killed, or died a natural death* GUirbar, upon intelligence of 
the designs of Fiagal to dethrone him, had dispatciied a messenger 
for Cathmor, who returned into Ireland a few d.iys before the open- 
ing of the poem. 

Cairbar here takes adva/ntage of his brother's absence, to perpe- 
trate his ungenerous designs against Oscar; for the n6ble spirit o^ 
Cathmor, had he been present, would not have permitted the laws 
of hospitality, for which he was so renov/ned himself, to be violated. 
Tha two brothers form a coI1t^a'^t ; we do not detest the mean snut 
'.'f Cairbar more, th»H we all:nirc tl'.c diointerestcd a-Jcl gericro'j$ 
Kijui o'f GatUuior, 

EookL AN £PIC POEM. 109 

Hiora! His words for Cathol were many; the wrath 
oi" Cairbar burns. He shall fidl.on Moi-lcna : my fame 
shall rise in blood." 

Their faces brightened round with joy. They spread 
over Moi-Iena. The feast of sliells is preparea. The 
songs of bards arise. We heard ' the voice of joy on 
the coast : we thought that mighty Cathmor came, 
Cathmor the friend of strangers ! the brother of red- 
haij-ed Cairbar. Their souls were not the same. The 
light of heaven was in the bosom of Cathmor. His 
towers rose on the banks of Atha : seven paths led to 
his halls. Seven chiefs stood on the path, and called 
the stranger to the Rast ! But Catlimor dwelt in the 
wood to avoid the voice of praise. 

OiU came with his songs. Oscar came to Cairbar's 
feast. Three hundred vv^arriors strode along Moi-lena 
of the streams. The grey dogs bounded on the heath, 

I Fingal's army keard the joy that was in Cairbar's camp. The 
charactergiven of Cathmor is agreeable to the times. Some, throughi 
ostentation, were hosyiteble ; ard others fell naturally into a cu>t jm 
liar.<le<J dovsn from tl.cir ancestors. But what marks strongly the 
ciiaracter of Cathmor, is his aversion to praise , for he is represented 
to dwell in a wood to avoid tiie thanks of liis guests; which is still a 
higher degree of generosity than that of Axylus in Homer; for the 
poet does not say, but the good roan might, at the head of his own 
table, have heard with pleasure the praise bestowed on him by the 
people he entertained. 

No nation in the world carried hospitality to a greater 'ength than 
the ancient Scots. It was even ir.faincus for many ages for a man of 
condition, t» have the door of his house shut at all, " lesr," as the 
bards express it, '• the stranger should come and behold his con- 
tracted soul." Some of tlic chicis were possessed of this hospitable 
disposition to an extravaganl degree ; and the bards, perhaps upon a 
selfish account, never failed to recommend it, in their eulogiums. 
*' Ceanuia' aidai', or the point to which all the roads of the strang*!rs 
le^d," was an invariable epithet given by them to tlie chiefs: on 
the contrary, they distinguish the inhospitable by the title of ♦' t!:c 
cloud which the strangers shun." This last, however, was so un- 
cjmmon, that in all ttie old poems ! have ever met with, I found 
bur one man branded with this ignominious appellation ; and that, 
perhaps, only founded upon a private (Jwurrel, which subsisted be- 
tvk e-i-n him .-.nd the p^-jtror. of the bard, who wrote riie poeuu 

110 temora: Book I. 

their howling readied afar, pingal saw the departing 
hero ; tlie soul of the king was sad. He dreaded Cair- 
bar's gloomy thoughts, amidst the feast of shells. My 
son raised high the spear of Cormac : an hundred bsdds 
met him with songs. Cairbar concealed with smiles 
the death that was dark in his soul. The feast is , 
spread ; the shells resound : joy brightens the face of 
the host. But it was like the parting beam of the sun, 
when he is to hide his red head in a storm. 

Cairbar rose in his arms ; darkness gathered on his 
brow. The hundred harps ceased at once. The clang ni 
of shields was heard. Far distant on the heath, Olla I 
raised his son^ of wo. My son knew the sign of death, ) 
and rising, seized his spear. " Oscar !" said the dark- | 
red Cairbir, " I behold the spear " of Innis-fail. The 
spear of Temora « glitters in thy baud, son of woody 
Morven ! It was the pride of an hundred p kings, the 
death of heroes of old. Yield it, son of Ossian, yield 
it to car-Ijorne Cairbar." 

" Shall I yield," Oscar replied, " the giftof Eria's 
injured king; the gift of fair-haired Cormac, when Os- 
car scattered his foes ? 1 came to Cormac's lialls of joy, 
when Swaran fled from Fingal. Gladness rose in the 
face of youth : he gave the spear of Temora. Nor did 

m Wlien a chief was determ'med to kill a per'^nn alreacly in hia 
power, it was usuaI to signify tiiat liis dcalli was intendeLl, i)y the 
sound of a shield struck, with the bhint end of a bpoar ; a.c the same 
time that a hard at a distance raised the dcaih-soiig. A ceremony of 
another k.iiid was long used ia .Scotland upon sucli occa.-'ious. Every 
luody has fieard that a biillb lici-l wa.s sewed up to Lord Dougla.s in 
tilt castle of rdinhnrtrh, as a certain siirr.'A of hi. approaching death-. 

n Cornr^ac, the son of Arth. had gi. cii the spear, which ishe-rc the 
foundation of the quavre), to O.scar, wlicn he came to tongratulate 
him upoii Swaraii's being expelled from Ireland. 

o 'r^mcr-rach, ' the house of good fortune,' tlie name of the roy- 
al palace of the supreme king of Ireland. 

p Hundred here is an intlcfinife number, and is only intended to 
express a great many. It was piobably the hyperbolical phrases of 
bards, that gave the first hint to the Irish senachies te place the ori- 
gin yf their mc-:,u-J.y in ■- remote - /' «■:■ thty nave do.-e. 

Book I. AS' EPIC POEr.t. in 

he give it to the feeble, O Cairbar, neither to the weak 
io souh The darkness of thy face is no storm to me ; 
nor are thine eyes the riames of death. Do I fear thy 
clanging shield ? Tremble I at Olla's song? No: Cair- 
bar, frighten the feeble, Oscar is a rock." 

" And wilt thou not yield the spear?" replied the 
rising pride of Cairbar. " Are thy words so mighty 
because Fingal is near ? Fingal with aged locks from 
Morven's hundred groves ! He has fought with little 
men. But he must vanish before Cairbar, like a thin 
pillar of mist before the winds of Atha ! q" " Were 
he who fought with little men near Atha's darkening 
chief; Atha's darkening chief would yield green Erin 
to avoid his rage. Speak not of the mightv, O Cair- 
bar! but turn thy sv^ord on me. Our strength is equal; 
but Fingal is renowned ! the first of m.ortal men." 

Theirpeople saw the darkening chiefs. Theircrov/d- 
ing steps are heard around. Their eyes roll in lire. 
A thousand swords are half-unsheathed. Red-haired 
OUa raised the song of battle : the trembling joy of 
Oscar's soul arose : the wonted joy of his soul when 
Fingal's horn was heard. Dark as the swelling wave 
of ocean before the rising winds, when it bends its head 
near a coast, came on the host of Cairbar. 

Daughter of Toscar ri why that tear? Ke is not fal- 
len yet. Many were the deaths of his arm before my 
hero fell ! 

Behold they fall before my son like the groves in the 
desert, when an acgry ghost rushes through night, and 
takes their green heads in his hand ! Morlath falls r 
Maronnan dies : Conachar trembles in his blood. Cair- 
bar shrinks before Oscar's sword ; and creeps in dark- 
ness behind his stone. He lifted the spear in secret, and 
pierced my Oscar's side. He falls forv/ard on his shielcU 
his knee sustains the chief. But still his spear is in his 

q Atha, 'shallow river :' the n^.me of Cairbar'* seat in Conn.ingh*. 
r Malvina, the daughter of Toscar, to whom lie addresses th« 
^*rt of the poem which relates to tJie deaih of Oscar her lotsr. 

112 temora: Bo6k?. 

hand. See gloomy Cairbar * falls I _ The steel pierced 
his forehead, and divided liis red hair behind. He lay, 
like a shattered rock, which Cromia shakes from its 
shaggy side. But never more shail Oscar rise ! he leans 
on his bossy shield. His spear is in his terrible hand ; 

s The Trish historians place the death of Cairbar, in the latter 
end of the third century : they say, he was killed in battle against 
Oscar the son of Ossian, but deny that he fell by his hand. 

It is however, certain^ tliat the Irish historians disguise, in some 
measure, thi* part of their history. An Irish poem on this subjectj 
which undoubtedly was the source ef their information, concerning 
the battle of Gabhra, where Cairbar fell, is just now in my hands. 
The circumstances arc leis to the disadvantage of the character of 
Cairbar, than those related by Ossian. As a translation of the poem 
("which though evidently no very ancient composition, docs not want 
poetical merit) would extend this note to too great a length, I shall 
only give the story of it Ih brief, with some extract* from the origi- 
nal Irish. 

Oscar, jays the Irish bard, was invited to a feast, at Temora, by 
Cairbar king of Ireland. A dispute arose between the two hcroep, 
concerning chc exchange of spears, which was usually made bfttweea ! 
the guests and their host, upon such occasions. In the course of | 
their altercation, Cairbar said, in a boastful manner, that he would 
hunt on the hills of Albion, and carry the spoils of it into Ireland, in i 
6]pit6 0f all the efforts of its inhabitants. The original words art : 

Eriathar buan sin ; Briathar buan 

A bheireadh an Cairbre rua', 

Gu tuga' sc sealg, agus creach 

A h'Albin an la'r na mhaireaeh. 
©scaf replied, that the next day, he hin>self would carry into Albf* 
on the spoils of the Hvc provinces of Ireland : in spite of the opposi- 
tion ef Cairbar. 

Brlathar eile an aghai' fin 

A bheirea' an t'Oscar, og, calma 

Gu'n tugadh se sealg, agus creach 

Bo dh'Albin an la'rna mhaireaeh, &c. 
Qscar, in consequence of his threats,began to lay waste Irelant! ; but 
as 1»£ returned with the spoil Into Ul«ter, through the narrow pa9$ 
of Gabhra (Caoil ghlen Ghabhra) he was met by Cairbar, and a bat- 
tle ensued, in which both the heroes fell by mutual .wounds. The 
bard gives a very curious list of the followers of Oscar, as they 
Baarched to battle, Tbe>' appear to hav'C l)een five hundred in num- ' 
ber, commanded, as the poet expresses it, by •' five heroe-s of the 
biood of kings." rhis poem mentions Fingal, as arriving from Sccl-» 
knd, bul«re Oscar dic^ of Iih wounds* 


Erin's sons stood distant and dark. Their shout arose, 
like crowded streams ; Moi-Iena echoed wide. 

Fingal heard the sound ; and took his father's spear. 
His steps are before us on the lieath. He spoke the 
words of wo. " I hear the noise of war. Young Os- 
car is alone. Rise, sons of Morven ; join the hero's 

Ossian rushed along the heath. Fillan bounded over 
Moi-lena. Fingal strode in his strength, and the light 
of his sliield is terrible. The sons of Erin saw it far dis- 
tant ; they trembled in their souls. Thev knew that 
the wrath of the king arose : and they foresaw their 
death. We first arrived ; we fought, and Erin's chiefs 
withstood our rage. But when the king came, in the 
sound of his course, what heart of steel could stand ! 
Erin lied over Moi-Iena. Death pursued their flight. 
We saw Oscar on his shield. We saw his blood around. 
Silence darkened every face. Each turned his back 
and wept. The king strove to hide his tears. His 
grey beard whistled in the wind. He bent his head 
above his son. His words were mixed v/ith sighs. 

" And art thou fallen, Oscar, in the midst of thy 
course ! the heart of the aged beats over thee ! He sees 
thy coming wars. The wars which ought to come he 
sees ! But they are cut off from thy fame. When shall 
joy dwell at Selma? When shall grief depart from Mor- 
ven ? My sons fall by degrees : Fingal shall be the last 
of his race. The fame which I have received sliall pass 
away : mv age will be without friends. I shall sdt a 
grey cloud in my hall .' nor shall I hear the return of a 
son, in the midst of his sounding arms. Weep, ye he- 
roes of Morven ! never more shall Oscar rise !" 

And they did weep, O Fingal ! dear was the hero to 
their souls. He went out to battle, and the foes va- 
nished : He returned, in peace, amidst their joy. No 
father mourned his son slain in youth : no brother his_ 
brother of love. They kU, without tevirs, for the chief 

K 3 

114 temora: Book I. , 

of the people was low ! Bran t is howling at his feet : : 
gloomy Luath is sad, for he had often led them to the : 
chase ; to the bounding row of the desert. 

When Oscar saw his friends around, his breast arose 
with sighs. " The groans," he said, " of aged chiefs, 
the howling of my dogs, the sudden bursts of songs 
of grief, have melted Oscar's soul. My soul, that 
never melted before ; it was like the steel of my sword. 
Ossian, carry me to my hills ! Raige the stones of my re- 
nown. Place the horn of the deer, and my sword with- 
in my narrow dweUing. The torrent hereafter may- 
raise the earth : the hunter may find the steel and say, 
** This has been Oscar's sword." 

" And fallest thou, son of my fame ! And shall I ne- 
ver see thee, Oscar ! When others hear of their sons, 
I shall not hear of thee. The moss is, on thy four 
grey stones ; the mournful wind is there. The battle 
shall be fought without him : he shall not pursue the ■ 
dark-brown hinds. W^hen the warrior returus from 
battles, and tells of other lands ; I have seen a tomb, 
he will say, by the roaring stream, the dark dwelling 
of a chief. He fell by car-borne Oscar, the first of mor- 
tal men. I, perhaps, shall hear his voice : and a beam 
of joy will rise in my soul." 

The night would have descended in sorrow, and 
morning returned in the shadow of grief: our chiefs 
"would have stood like cold dropping rocks on Moi-lena, 
and have forgot the war, did not the king disperse his 
gritf, and raise his mighty voice. The chiefs, as nev/- 
wakened from dreams, lift up their heads around. 

" How lon^ on Moi-lena shall we weep ; or pour 
our tears m ullin ? The mighty will not return. Oscar 
shall not rise in his strength. The valiant must fall 
oae day, and be no more known on his hills. Where 
are our fathers, O warriors ! the chiefs of the times 
©fold ? Tlicy have set hke stars tliat have shone, we on- 

t Bran was ere cf ringai's iog«. Bran si£;wfles a niDr.ntaia 

r.Ookl. AM EPIC POEM. 115 

ly hear the sound of their praise. But they were re- 
nowned in their day, the terror of other times. Thus 
jrr.all we pass, O warriors, in the day of our fall. Thea 
let us be renowned when we may; and leave our fame 
behind us, like the last beams of the sun, when he hides 
liis red head in the v/est. Uilin, my aged bard! take 
the ship of the king. Carry Oscar to Selma of harps. 
Let the daughters of Morven v. eep. We shall fight 
in Erin for the race ot fallen Cormac. The days of 
my -^-ears begin to fail ; 1 fcei the weakness of my arm. 
]My fathers bend from tlieir clouds, to receive their 
grey-haired son. But before I go hence, one beam of 
tame shall rise : so shall my days end, as my ye.irs be- 
gan, in fame : my life shall be one stream ot light to 
bards of other times. 

Ullin raised his white sails ; the wind of the south 
came forth : He bounded on the waves towards Selma. 
I remained in my grief, but my words were not heard. 
The feast is spread on Moi-iena : an hundred heroes 
reared the tomb of Cairbar : but no song is raised over 
the chief: for his soul had been dark and bloody. 
7'he bards remembered the fall of Cormac ! what could 
thev say in Ciirbar's praise ? 

I'he night came rolling down. The light of an 
hundred oaks arose. Fingal sat beneath a tree. Old 
Althan u stood in the midst. He told the tale of fallen 
Cormac. Althan the son of Conaciiar, the friend of 
car-borne CuchuUin : he dwelt v/ith Cormac in windy 
Temora, when Semo's son fought with generous Tor- 
iath. The tale of Althan was mournful, and the tear 
was in his eye. 

Thev setting sun was yellow on Doraw. Grey 

n Altiun, the son of Conachar, was tlie chief bard of Arth, king 
of Ireland. After the death of Arth, Althan attended his son Cor- 
i75ac, arvd was present as his death. He had made his CbCape from, by the means of Cathmor, and coming to Fi.igal, related, as 
here, the death of his master Cormac. 

V Althan speaks. 

V.' Dcira, ' the woody sl^ cfa mour.Uii: i" it is here a blU in the 
rfjc'.-.bcu-hood Of reaiera. 

115 temora: Book I 

evening began to descend. Temora's woods shook. 
V/Ith the blast of the inconstant wind. A cloud, at 
length, gathered in the west, and a red star looked 
from behind its edge. T stood in the wood alone, and 
saw a ghost on the darkening air. His stride extended 
fi'om hill to hill : his shield was dim on his side. It 
was the son of Semo : I knew the warrior's face. But 
he passed away in his blast ; and all was dark around. 
My soul was sad. I went to the hall of shells. A thou- 
sand lights arose : the hundred bards had strung the 
harp. Cormac stood in the midst, like the morning, 
star, when it rejoices on the eastern hill, and its young 
beams are bathed in showers. The sword of Artho - 
was in the hand of the king ; and he looked with joy 
on its polished studs : thrice he strove to draw it, and 
thrice he failed ; his yellow locks are spread on his 
shoulders : his cheeks of youth are red. I moujrned 
over the beam of youth, for he was soon to set. 

" Althan!" he said with a smile, " hast thou be- 
held my father ? Heavy is the sword of the king, sure- 
ly his arm was strong. O that I were like him in bat- 
tle, when the rage of his wrath arose ! then v/ould I 
have met, like Cuchullin, the car-borne son of Cantela! 
But years may come on, O Althan ! and my arm be_ 
strong. Hast thou heard of Semo's son, the chief of 
high Temora ? He miglit have returned with his fame ; 
for he promised to return to-night. My bards wait 
him with songs ; my feast is spread In Temora." 

I heard the king in silence. My tears began to fiov/. 
I hid them with my aged locks ; but he perceived my 
grief. " Sofl o[ Conachar !" he said, " is the king of 
Turay low ? Why bursts thy sigh in secret, and v/hy 
descends the tear : Coraes the car-borne Torlath i or 
the sound ef the red-haired Caiibar ? They come ! for 

X Arth, or Artho, tJie father of CVrnnc kinj of Ireland. 

y Cucliuliin isca'led the king of Tiira.from a castle of th.'.t r,-rre 
en the coast of Uls'^rr, where he dwcU. before he undertook the 
m.i:iat-cn-.ciu (,t tl'.f af'jirs- of Ireland; rr tl-.c miriorlty of Cortr*;. 

Bookl. AN «ric POEM. 117 

I behold thy grief. Mossy Tura's king is lov/ ! Shall 
I not rush to battle ? But I cannot lift the spear ! O had 
mine arm the strength of Cuchullin, soon would Cair- 
bar f.y ; tlie lame of my fiitiiers would be renewed ; 
and the deeds of other times !" 

He took his bow. The tears flow do\vn from 
both his sparlding eves. Grief suddens round: the 
bards bend forward from their hundred harps. The 
lone blast touched their trembling strings. The sound z 
is sad and low. A voice is heard at a distance, as of one 
in grief; it was Carril of other times, who came from 
dark Slimora a. He told of the death of Cuchullin, and 
of his mighty deeds. The people were scattered round 
his tom.b : their arms lay on the ground. They had 
forgot the war, for he, their iire, was seen no more. 

" But who," said the soft-voiced Carril, " come like 
the bounding roes ? Their stature is like the young trees 
of the plain, growing in a shower : Soil and ruddy are 
their cheeks-; but fearless souls look forth from their 
€ves ! Who but the sons of Usnoth *',the CcU"-borne chiefs 
of Etha. The people rise on every side,like the strength 
of an half-extinguished fire, when die winds come sud- 
den, from the desert, on tiieir rustling wings. The sound 

z The prophetic sound, mentioned in other poems, which the 
harps of the bards emitted before the dtath of a person t\-orthy and 
renowned. It is here an ODicn of tlie death of Cormac, which, 
soon after followed. 

a Slimora, a hill in Connaught, near which Cuchullin was killed. 

b Usnoth, chief of Etha, a distrrct on the western coast of -Scut- 
land, had fhree sens, Nathos. Althos, and Ardan, by Slisfamah the 
e!5ter of Cuchullin. The three brothers, when very young, werejient 
over to Ireland by their father, to learn the use of arms under tlieir 
uncle, whose militarj' fame was vfery great in that kingdom. They 
kad jQst arrived in Ulst£r when the news of CuchullinVs death arriv- 
ed. N,-ithos, the eldest of the three brother-, took the command of 
Cuchullin's army, and made head against Cairbar, the chief of Atha. 
Calrbar having at last murdered young king Cormac at Temora, 
the army of Nathos shifted sides, and the brother^' were obliged to re- 
turn into Uhter, in order to pass over into Scotland. The sequel of 
their mournful story is related, at lar^e, in the poem of Dar-tlmla. 

118 TEMORAt Book. r*li 

ef Caithbat's c shield was heard. The heroes saw Cu- • 
chullin d in Nathos. So roUed his sparkling eyes ; his i 
steps are sucli on the heatli. Battles are fought at ; 
Lego : the sword of Nathos prevails. Soon shalt thou i 
behold hirn in thy halls, king of Temora of Groves." 

" And soon may I behold the chief!" replied the 
bJue-eyed king. " But my soul is sad for CuchuUiu ; 
his voice was pleasant in n«ne ear. Often have we 
moved, on Dora, to the chase of the dark-brown hinds ; 
his bow was unerring on the mountains. He spoke of 
mighty men. He told of the deeds of my fathers ; and 
I felt nn- joy. But sit thou at the feast, O bard, I have 
often heard thy v( )ice. Sing in the praise of Cuchullin ; 
and of that mighty stranger «^'." 

Day rose on woody Temora, with all the beams of 
the east. Trathin came to the hall, the son of old Gel- 
lama f. " I behold," he said, " A dark cloud in the de- 
sert, king of Innis-fail ! a cloud it seemed at first, but 
now a crowd of men. One strides before them in his 
strength ; his red hair flies in wind. His shield glitters \ 
to the beam of the east. His spear is in his hand." I 

" Call him to the feast of Temora," replied tjie 
king of Erin. "My hall is in the house of strangers, sou 
of the generous Gellama ! Perhaps it is the chief of E- 
tha, coming in the sound of his renown. Hail, mighty s 
stranger ! art thou of the friends of Cormac ? But Car- 
ril, he is dark and unlovely ; and he drav/s his sword. 
Is that the son ot Usnoth, bard of the times of old ?" 

" It is not the son of Usnoth," said Carril, *' but the 
chief of Atha. Why comest thou in thy arms to Te- 
mora, Cairbar of the gloomy brow? Let not thy sword 
rise against Cormac ! Whither dostthouturnthyspeed?" 

c Caithhat was grp.ndf.ither to Cnchullln ; and Ms sbic'd was 
made use of to alarm his posterity to the battles of the family. 

d 'I'hat is, tliey saw a manifest likciiess between the person of 
Nathos and Cucluillin, 

e Nathos tlic son of Usnoth. f Ceal-! a, ' white-handed.' 

g From this expression, wc understand, that Cairbar|had entered 
the palace of I'emora, in the midst tf Cormac's speech. 

B > ;: I. AN EPIC POEM. 113 

} 1 . j-'assed on in his darkness, and seized the hand of the 
;-i.',.^. Cormac foresaw his death, and the rage of his 
eyc^ arose. Retire, tliou gloomy chief of Atha: Nathos 
CG.rits witli battle. Thou an bold in Corniae's liall, 
i.n his arm is weali. The sword entered the side of 
ilic king : he fell in the halis of his fatlK;rs. Hii; fair 
Lair is in the dust, his blo(d is smoking round. 

" And art thou fallen in thy hails'', O son of noble 
Ariho ? The shield of Cuchullin was not near, nor 
tlie spear of thy fathers. Mournful are the mountains 
of Erin, for the chief of the people is low ! Blest be 
th V soul, O Cormac ! thou art darkened in thy youth." 
His words came to tlie eai-s of Cairbar, ancl he clos- 
ed us i in the midst of darkness. He feared to stretch 
his sword to the bards *, though his soul was dark., 
Long liad we pined alone : at length, the noble Cath- 
mor 1 came. He heard our voice from the cave ; he 
turned the eye of his wrath on Cairbar. 

*• Chief of Atha !" he said, " how long Vv'ilt thou 
pain ray soul? Thy heart is liiie the rock of the deseit; 
and tliy thoughts are d^irk. But thou art the brother 
of Cathmor, and he will fight thy battles. But Cath- 
mor's soul \^as not like thinf , thou feeble hand of war ! 
Tlie light of ray bosom is stranedwith thy deeds: the 
bards will not siug of my renown. They may say, 
Cathmor was brave, but he fought for gloomy Cairbar. 
They will pass over my ton;b in silence ; my fame shall 
rot be heard. Cairbar ! loose the bards ; they are the 
sons ef oiher times. Their voice shall be heard in o- 
thcr yc-rs; after the kings of Temor.i have failed.'* 

h Althaa speaks. 

i That ii, him. elf and Carril, as it afcerwards appears. 

Jc The perst):;s of the|bards \Aere so sacred, th$t even he, who had 
just murdered Kis sovereign, feared lokUl them. 

1 Cathnior appears the »aine disiatereste J hero upon every occa- 
sion. His humanity and generosity were unparalleled; in shert he 
haii no fiHic, but joo niucli r.ttachii>'.'i.t to so had a hrother as Cair- 
b4r. His family connection witli Cairbar prevails, as he expresses it, 
over every other coasideratio;), a::- m^kts Li'ii ea^'J'^i- Ui a war, of 
Tl'.hk. lie did not spiTO ;cv 

120 TEMORA : Book Ui 

" We came forth -at the words of the chief. We: 
SAW him in his strength. He was like thy youth, O » 
Fingal, when thou first didst lift the spear. Kis face : 
was like the plain of the sun, when it is bright : no 
darkness travelled over iiis brow. But he came with 
his thousands to UUin ; to aid the red-haired Cairbar: 
and now he comes lo revenge his deatli, O king of 
woody Morven." 

" And let him come,'* replied the king ; " I love 
foe like Cathmor. His soul is great ; his arm is strong ; 
his battles are full of fame. But the little soul is a va- 
pour that hovers round the marshy lake : it never rises 
on the green hill, lest the winds should meet it there : 
its dwelling is in the cave, it sends forth the dart of 
dcatli. Our young heroes, O warriois, are like the re- 
nown of our fathers. They fight in youth ; they fall : 
their names are in the song. Fmgal is amidst his dark- 
ening years. He must not fail, as an aged oak, across 
a secret stream. Near it are the steps of the hunter, as 
it lies beneath the wind. How has the tree fallen ? 
He, whistling, strides along. 

" Raise the song of joy, ye bards of Morven, that our 
souls may forget the past. The red stars look on us 
from the clouds, and silently descend. Soon shall the 
grey beam of the morning rise, and show us the foes of 
Cormac. Fillan ! take the spear of the king ; go to 
Mora's dark-brown side. Let thine eyes travel over 
the heath, like flames of fire. Observe the foes of Fin- 
gal, and the course of generous Cathmor. I iicar a 
distant sound, like the falling of rocks in the desert. 
But strike thou thy sliield, at times, that they may not 
come through night, and the flime of Morven cease. 
I begin to be alone, my son, and I dread the fail of ray 

The voice of the bards arose. The king leaned onr 
the shield of Trenmor. Sleep descended on his eyes ; 
his future battles rose in his dreams. Tlie host are 
sleeping around. Diirk-haired Fillan observed the foe. 
His steps are on a distant h:il ; we hc3T at tj-mcs his 
clang ng sliidd. 

T E M O R A : 

This hook opens, we may suppose, about midnight, with a solilcqaf 
of Oviup, who had retired, frum the rest of the army, to mourn 
for his son Oscar. Up< n he;Ting tiie noL«e o fCathinoi's army ap- 
proacliing, he went to tiiij out his brother Fillan, who kcj't tlve 
watch, on the hi" of Mora, in the front of Fingal's army. In the 
conversation of the brothers, theepisodcof Conar the •son of'l"Yen- 
xnor, who was the first king of Ireland, is introduced, ^vhich lay* 
open the origin of the contests between the Cacl and Firbolg, the 
tvso nations wlio first possessed themselves of that island. Oisiaii 
kin^dles a fire on Mcraj upon which Cathmor desisted from the 
Tlesign he had formed of surprising the army of the Caledonians. 
He calls a council ol' his chiefs; reprimands Foldath for advbing 
a night-attack, as the Irish army were so much su^ierior in num- 
ber to the enemy. TIjc bard Fonar introduces the story of Cro- 
thar, the ancestor of the king, which throws further litzht on the 
history of Ireland, and the original pretensions of the family of A- 
tba, to the tlirone of thai kingdom. The Irish chiefs iie down to 
rest, and Cathmor him>elf undertakes the wstcli. In his circuit 
round the army, he is met by Ossian. The intcrTiew of the two 
heroes IS described. Cathmor obtains a promise from 0-;sian, to 
order a funeral elegy to be sung over the grave of Cairbir; it be- 
ing the opinion of the times, that tUe souls of the dead could not 
be happy, till their elegies were sung by a b;ird. Morning comes. 
Cathmor and Ossian part : and the htter, casually meeting wiih 
Carril the son of Kinfena, sends that bard, with a funeral aong to 
the tunib of Cairbar. 


FAT H ER m of hcroes, Trenmor ! dweller of eddying 
winds ! where the dark-red course of thunder 
marks the troubled clouds ! Open thou thy stormy 

m Though this book haslittle action, it is not the least important 
part of femora. The poet, in several episodes runs up the causc 
of the war to the very source. The tirst population of Ireland, the 
wars between the two nations who originally possessed that island, 
its tirst race of kings, ajid the revolutions of its government, are im- 
portant facts, and are delivered hy the poet, with so little mi-xUirc 
of the fabulous, tlia: one caimot help pfcferring his account to the 
improbable fictions of the Scottish aad Irish historians. 7 1;C Milesi- 
an fables of those ger.tleiricn bear about thsm tlie mUiliS of a late ia» 

Vol. H. i 

122 temora: Book II 

halls, and let the bard of old be near : let them draw- 
near, with their songs and their l^ilf viewless harps. 
Ko dweller of misty valley comes ; no hunter unknown 
at his streams ; but the car-borne Oscar from the folds 
of war. Sudden is thy change, mv son, from v\hat 
thou wert on dark Moi-lena ! The blast folds thee in 
its sldrt, and rustles along the sky. — Dost thou not be- 
hold thy father, at the stream of night :' The cliiefs of 
Moiven sleep f^r distant. They have lost no son. 
But ye have lost a hero, chiefs of streamy Morven ! 
Who could equal his strength, when battle rolled a- 
gainst his side, like the darkness of crowded waters?— 
Why this cloud in Ossian's soul r It ought to burn In 
danger. Erin is near with her host. The king of 
Morven is alone. Alone thou shalt not be, my father, 
while I can lift the spear. 

I rose, in my rattling arms. I listened to the wind 
of night. The shield of Fillan" is not heard. I shook : 
for the son of Fingal. Why should the foe come, by . 
night : and tlie dark-haired v/arrior fail ? Distant, sui- 
len murmurs rise : like the noise of the lake of Lego, 
when its waters shrink, in the days of frost, and all its . 

venlUn. To trace their legendi; to their source would be no diifi* 
cult taik ; but a disquisition of this savt would extend i2ii»note tua* 

n We understand, from tl:e preceding hook, that Cathmor wa«" 
rear vvitli an army. When Cairbar was killed, the tribes who at- 
tended hiui fe'A b.ick to Cathmor; wlm, as it afterward:; appears, 
had taken a resolution to surprise i inj^al by night. Killan was dis- 
patched to tlic hill of Mora, which was in the front of the Caledoni- 
ans, to observe the motions of Cathmor. In this situation were af- ■ 
fairs, when Ossian, upon hearing the noise of the approaching enemy, , 
went to find out his brother. Their conversation naturally introdu- 
ces the episode, concerning Conar the sonof Trenmor, tlie firat Irish 
monarcii, wiiich is so necessary to the understanding tlic foundation 
of the rebellion and usurpation of Cairbar and Cathmor. Fillan was 
the youngest of the sons of Fingal, then living. He and Bosmina^ 
i-nentioned in the battle of Lora, were the only ciiildren of the king^ 
by Clatlio the daughter of CathuUa king of Inisttyre, whom he ha.4 •> 
taken to wife, after the dcati; of I^os criua tht; dsiiig^''';'' of Corijw.« . 
Mac-Cvjiiar king of Ireljir.c'. 

'3 , k II. AX EFIG POEM. 123 

li^isting ice resounds. The people of I^ara look to 

he, fvtn und foresee the storm. My steps are forwaul 

.' on the heath ; the spear of Oscar m my hand. Red 

I stars looked from high. I gleamed along the night. 

I I saw FilLm silent before me, bending^ forward from 
} Mora's rock. He heard the shout of the foe ; the 

joy of his soul arose. He heard my sounding tread, 
I and turned his lifted spear. 

[ " Comest thou, son of night, in peace ? or dost thoa 
I meet my wrath ? The foes of Fingal are mine. Speak, 
' cr fear n)y steel. I stand, not in vain, the shield of 
i Morven's race." 

I u Never mayest thou stand in vain, son of blue-eyed 
Clatho. Fingal begins to be alone ; darkness gathers 
on die last of his days. Yet he has two o sons who 
ought to siiine in war ; who ought to be two beams of 
light near the steps of his departure." 

" Son of fingal," replied the youth, " it is not long 
since I raised the spear. Few are the marks of my 
sv/ord in battle, but my sv/ord is fire, the chiefs of Bol- 
fia V crowd around the shield of generous Cathmcr. 
Their gathering is on the lieath. Shall my steps ap- 
proach Lheir host ? I yielded to Oscar alone, in the 
strife of the race, on Cona." 

o Tl'at is, two sons in Ireland, Fergus, the second son of Finga!, 
Va'i, at tlut time, on an expedition, wliich is mentioned in one of 
the Iciser poems cfOs'jian. He, accordii;g to smre traditions, was 
the ancestor of Ferj;us, tlx son ofErc, or Arcatli, commonly called 
Fergus the second in the Scottish histories. The beginning of the 
Teij^n of FerijOS, over the Scots, is placed, by the n^.ost approved an- 
rals of Scotland, in the fourth year of the fifth a'~e: a full century af- 
ter the desth of Ossian. The genealnjry of his family is recorded 
tlnis hy the Highland serachic<; ' Fergus Mac-Artath, Mnc-Chonge- 
"ai,Mac-Fcri;us, MacKiongaelnahuai:' i. e. Ferfrlis theson of Arcath, 
the ^on of Congal, the son of ! ergus, the son of Fiopal the victorious.* 
f his subject is trrated more at large, in the Dissertation prefixed to 
t;he poems. 

p The southern parts of IrcL^nd went for ssmc time, under tJ'.e 
name of Bolga, from the f irbolg or Belp« of Britain, who settled a 
colony there. Bolg, signilies a quiver, from which proceeds Jir- 
hofg, i. e. how-men, so cal'ed from their using bows, mare than any 
of tlic neighbouring untions. 

124 temof.a: Book II. 

" Fillarv, thou shall not a}>proac]i their host; nor fall 
before thy fame is kr)own. My name is heard in song ; 
when needful I advance. From the skirts of night I 
shall view their gleaming tribes. Why, Filian, didst 
thou speak of Oscar, to call forth my sigh ? I must for- 
get q the warrior till tl'ie storm is rolled away. Sad- 
ness ou<^ht not to dwell in danger, nor the tear in the 
eye of war. Our fathers forgot their fallen sons, till 
the noise of arms was past* Then sorrow returned to 
the tomb, and the song of bards arose." 

" Conar*- v/as the brother of Trathal, first of mor- 
tal men. His battles were on every coast, A thousand 
st)-eams rolled down the blood ot his foes. His fame 
filled green Erin, hke a pleasant gale. The nations 
gathered in Ullin, and they blessed the king ; the king 
of the race of their fathers, from the land of hinds. 

" The chiefs ** of the south were gathered in the 

q It is remarkahle, tliat afrer tliis passage Dicar is n(tt mentioned 
in all femora. The situations of the characters who act in the po- 
em are so interesting, tliat others foreign tothe subject could not be 
introduced * 1th any lustre. Though the episode, which follows, 
may seem to flow naturally enough from the conversation of the 
bn.thers, yet I have shov.-n, in a preceding note, and more at large 
in the Dissertation pretixed to this coUoction, that the poet had a 
farrlicr design in view. 

r Conar, the lirst king of Ireland, was the son of Trenmor, the 
great grandfather of Fingal. It was on accouat of this family con- , 
nection that Fingal was engaged in so many wars in the cause of the i 
race of Conar. Thougli few of the actions of Trenmor are mention- 
ed in Ossian's poems, yet, from the honourable appellation bestow- 
ed on him, we may conclude that he was, in the days of tlie poet, 
the most renowned name in antiquity. The most piobable opinion 
coiicerni«g him is, that he was the first who united the tribes of tl 
Caledonians, anJ commanded them, in clikf, against the incuriirnB 
of tlie Romans. The genealogists ef the North, have traced his fa- 
rr.ily far back, and given a list cf his ancestors to %iuan-mor nan Ian, 
or Coninor of the swords, who, according to them, was the first 
who crossed the great sea, to Caledonia, from wiiich circumstance 
his name pj-occ,edcd, which wgnifies Great Ocean. Genealogies of so 
ancient a date, hpwevcr, are little ty be depended upon. 

s The chiefs of the Firbolg who posse>5ed themselves of thesoutU ■ 
of Ireland, prior, perhaps, Jo the scttk-mtnt of the Cael of Caledo- 
tii*. and tlie Hetrvides in Ulster. From llM sequel , it appeirs that ' 

3:. ok II. AM £P1C rOEM. 125 

.l.rkness of their pride. In the horrid cave of Moma, 
diev mixed their secret words. Thither often, they 
jsaid, the spirits of their fathers came ; showing their 
jpale forms from the chinky rocks, and reminding them 
(of tlie honour of Bolga. Wliy should Conar reign, 
the son of streamy Morven ? 

" Thev came forth, Hke the Streams of the desert, 
iwith the roar of their hundred tribes. Conar was a 
rock before them : broken they rolled on every side. 
But often they returned, and the soiis of Ullin fell, 
The king stood, among the tombs of his warriors, 
and darkly bent his mournful face. His soul ^u'as roll- 
ed into itself; he marked the place where he was to 
fall ; when Trathal came, in his strength, the chief of 
I cloudy Morven. Nor did he come alone ; Colgar t 
I was at hi^ side ; Colgar the sOn of the king, and of 
w'lite-bosomed Solin-corma. 

" As Trenmor, clothed with meteors, descends from 
the halls of thunder, pouring the dark storm before him 
over the troubled sea ; so Colgar descended to battle, 
and wa5,ted the echoing lield. His father rejoiced over 
the hero : but an arrow came. His tomb was raised, 
without a tear. The king was to revenge his son. He 
lightened forward in battle, till Bolga yielded at her 

" When peace returned to the land, and his blue 
waves bore the king to Morven ; then he remembered 
his son, and poured the silent tear. Thrice did the 

t'.'.e Fir>clg were by micli the most powerful nation : and it is pro- 
b.Viletiat the Cac! mu't liave submitted to them, bad they not re- 
ceived succours from their mother-country under the command of 

t Cc Ig-er, ' f erccly Iprkinj warrior.' Sulin-conna, ' bhie eye?,' 
Colpnr was the eliltst of tlie sorn of Trathal : Comhal, wlio was the 
father of Finpal, was very youngwhen tlie prebcnt expedition to Ire- 
lAnd happened. It Ls remarkable, that, of a-il liis ancestors, the poet 
ira'<es tiie kast mention of Comhnl; which, probably, proceeded 
from the unforttinate life .->rd untimely death of thn.t hero. From 
some passages conccn.iug him, we leavn, indeed, t*3t l;e wa's brave, 
but he '.vaiited conduct. 

L S 

126 temora: Book II.'. 

bards, at the cave of Furmono, call the soul of Calgar. , 
They call him to the hilis of his land ; he heard them '• 
in his mist. Trathal placed his sword in the cave, that > 
the spirit of his son might rejoice." 

" Colgar", son of Trathal," said Fillan, " thou 
wert renowned in youth ! But the king hathnotmarkcd 
my sword, bright-streaming on the Held. I go forth 
with the crowd ; I return, without my fame. But the 
foe approaches, Ossian. I hear their murmur on the : 
heath. The sound of their steps is like thunder, in the 
bosom of the ground, when therockinghillsshaketheir 
groves, and not a blast pours from the darkened sky.'* 

Sudden J turned on my spear, and raised tlie flame, 
of an oalc on high. I spread it large on IVlora's wind. 
Cathmor stopt in his course. Gleaming he stood, like 
a rock, on whose sides are the Vv^andering of blasts ; 
which seize its echoing streams and clothe them over 
with ice. So stood the friend * of strangers. The . 
winds lift his heavy locks. Thou art the tallest of the" 
race of Erin, king of streamy Atha ! 

" First of bai^ds," said Cathcior, " Fonar ^^', call the 
chiefs oi Erin. Call red-h«iired Cormar, dark-browed 
Malthos, the side-long-looking gloom of Ma-ronan. Let 
the pride of Foldath appear : the red-rolling eye of 
Turlotho. Nor let Hidalla be forgot ; his voice, in 
danger, is like the sound of a shower, when it fails in 
the blasted vale, near Atha's falling stream." 

u The poet begin? here to mark strongly the character of Fillan, 
wh'i is to make >o great a figure in the sequel of the poem. He liaS 
the impatience, the ambition, and fire wliich are peculiar to a youiig 
hero. Kindled with the fame of Colga^, he forgets his untimely fall. 
From Fillan's exprestion in thi^s passage, it would seem, that he was 
neglected by Hngal on account of his youth. 

V Cathmor is distinguished by this honourable title, on account of 
his generosity to strangers, which was so great a* to be remarkable, 
«\ en in those days of hospitality. 

w Fonar, ' the man of song.' Before J he introduction of Chris*' 
tianlty, a name was not irrpnjcd upon any person, till he had distin- 
gtiishcd himself by sotrc remarktblv actlcn, from v.hich lifs name 

Book It. AS EPIC POF.M. 1ST 

They came, in their clanging arms. They bent for 
wajcl to his voice, as if a spirit ot tlieir fathers spoke 
from a cloud of" nighr. Dreadful shone they to the 
light ; like the fill of th^ stream of Brumo^, when the 
meteor lights it before the nightly stranger. Shudder- 
ing, he stops in his jowrney, and looks up for the beani 
of the morn. 

Why y delights Foldath," said the king, " to pour 
the blood of foes, by night ? Fails his arm in battle, m 
the beams of day ? Few are the foes before us, why 
should we clothe us in mist ? The valiant delight to 
shine, in the battles of their land. Thy counsel was in 
vain, chief of Moma; the eyes of Morven do not sleep. 
They ai'e watchful as eaj^les, on their mossy rocks. 
I>et each collect beneath his cloud the streogtn of his 
roaring tribe. To-morrow I move, in light, to meet 
the foes of Bolga ! Mighty z was he that is low, the 
race of Borbar-duthul !" 

" Not immarked," said Foldath, " were my steps 
before thy race. In light, I met the foes of Cairbar ; 
the v/arrior praised my deeds. But his stone was rais- 
ed without a tear ! No bard sung ^ over Erin's king ; 
and shall his foes rejoice along their mossv hills ? No; 
they must not rejoice : he was the friend of Foldath, 
Our words v/ere mixed, in secret, in Moma's silent 
cave ; v/hilst thou, a boy in the field, pursuedst the 

X Brumo was a place of worship (Fiug. B. VI.) i^ Craca, which is 
supposed to be one of the isles of Shetland. Ir was thought that the 
spirits ofthe deceased haunted it, by night, whicii adds more terror 
to the description introduced here. The horrid circle of Brume, 
where often they said, the ghosts of the dead howled r^und the 
stone of fear. 

y From this passage it appears, that it was Foldatli who had ad- 
vised the night af ack. The gloomy character of Foldath is properly 
contrasted to the generous, the open Cathmor. 

z By this exchmation, Cathmor intimajes that he intends to re- 
venge the death of his brother Cairbar. 

a To have no funeral elegy sung over his tnmb, wis, in those days, 
reckoned the gr-atei-t misfortune could befila man ; as liissoul 
coulj r.Lt be (.tLrr.v.ii: iclinit:ed to the airy hall of Ms fdther». 

123 tEMORA: BooklJ. 

thistle's beard. With Moma's sons I shall rush abroad, 
?.nd find the foe, on his dusky hills. Fingal shall lie 
U'ithout his song, the grey-han-ed king oi Selma." 

" Dost thou think, thou feeble man," replied the 
cliicf of Atha ; " dost thou think that he can tall v/ith- 
rut his fame, in Erin ? Could the bards be silent, at the 
tomb of the mighty Finp;al? The song would burst in 
secret ^ and the spirit oi" the king rejoice. It is when 
thou shalt fill, that the bard shall forget the song. Thou 
art dark, chief of Moma, though thine arm is a tempest 
in war. Do I forget the king of Erin, in his narrov/ 
house ? My soul is not lost to Cairbar, the brother of 
my love. I marked the bright beams of joy which 
travelled over his cloudy mind, when I returned with 
fame to Atha of the streams." 

Tall they removed, beneath the words of the king ; 
each to his own dark tribe; where humming, they roll- 
fd on the heath, faint-glittering to the stars: Uke waves 
in a rocky bay, before the nightly wind. Beneath an 
Okik, lay the chief of Atha : his shield, a dusky round, 
hung high. Near him, against a rock, leaned the 
Ftranger b of Inis-huna : that beam of light, w ith wan- 
dering locks, from Lumon of the roes. At distance rose 
the voice of Fonar, with the deeds of the days of old. 
The song fails, at times, in Lubar's growing roar. 

" Crothar ■ ," begun the bardj, " first dwelt at Atha'3 
mossy stream. A thousand ^i oaks, from the moun- 

b Py tliesfranjcrcf Ini^-h^lnp, is meant Sulmalh, tlie daugl'.ler 
of Conmorkingof Inis lunia, the arKient; naive of that part of ?omh 
■pritain which is next l o tl»t Irish coast. 8he hail followed Cathmcr 
in ilisj^ni«e. Her story is related r.t large in the fourth book. 

c Crotliar was the ancestor of C.Uhmor, aril the first of hi' fam*- 
ly, who hp.d ,'etiIM in Atha. It was in his time, that the first wars 
were kindled between the Firbolg and Gael. T he vropriety of the 
tpisoeie is cvii!ent; as the which originally rose between 
Crothar andsCopar.fiib.-i^ttd afterwards betV,xcn their posterity, and 
was tlie fonrdatior of the story of the vocra. 

d Irom this circumstance we may learn, that th.e art of bn'ldin;^ 
with stone was not known in Ireland so e;,rly ssihe days of Crothar. 
"^ lien tiie colony were ;vni^ serried iii t?iv C-.^nn y, 'he aris r^f eivfl 

Baok n. AN tpic POr.M. 129 

tains, fori-ned his echoing hall. The gatJiering of the 
people was tiiere, around the feast of the blue-eyed 
king. But who, among the chiefs, was like the stately 
Ciotliar ? Warriors kindled in his presence. The young 
sigh of the virgins rose. In Alnecma e was the war- 
rior honoured ; the lirst of the race of Bolga. 

" He pursued the chase in Ullin : on the moss-covef- 
ed top of Drumardo. From the wood looked the 
daughter of Cathmin, the blue-rolling eye of Con-hima. 
Her sigh rose in secret. She bsnt her head, midst her 
wandering locks. The moon looked in at night, and 
saw the white-tossing of her arms ; for she thought of 
tlic mighty Crothar, in the season of her dreams. 

" Three" days feasted Crothar with Cathmin. On the 
"fourth they awaked the hinds. Con-lania moved to 
the chase, vvith all her lovely steps. She met Croth;u , 
in the narrow path. The bow fell, at once, from her 
hand. She turned her face away, and half-hid it with her 
locks. The love of Crothar rose. He brought the white- 
bosomed maid to Atha. Bards raised the song in her 
presence ; joy dwelt round the daughter of Ullin. 

" The pride of Torloch rose, a youth who loved tlie 
U'hite-handed Con-lama. He came with battle to Al- 
necma ; to Atha of the roes. Cormul went forth to 
the strife, the brother of car-borne Crothar. He went 
fortli, but he fell, and the sigh of his people rose. Si- 
lent and tiill, across the stream, came the darkening 

life began to increase amntiK them ; for we finimentioo matle of tlwr 
tourers of Atha in t!ie time of C.ithmor, w!uch could not well hi ap- 
plied to wooden buildings. In Caledonia they begun very early ro 
build with stone. None of the houses of Fingal, excepting Ti foir- 
nial were of wood- Ti foirmal was the great hall where the bards 
rn"t to repeat their compositions annually, before they submitted 
them to the judgment of the king in Sdrrva. 

e Alnecma, or Alnccmacht, was the ancient name of Connaught. 
VUiii is still the Iris!\ name of the province of Ulster. To avo'.d the 
multiplying of notes, I shall here ^ive tlic sj^ification of the names 
in this episode. Drumardo, ' high ridte.' Cathmin, ' calm id 
battle.' Con-lamha, ' soft han'd.' 1 urlodi, • m-in of the quixj^r. 
Conaul, ^ilueeyc' 

1'30 TEivicRA: Boojcll. 

trengtli of Crothar : He rolled the foe from Alneema, 
and returned, midst the joy of Con-lama. 

*' Battle on battle cnmes. Blood is poured on blood. 
The tombs of the valiant rise. Erin's clouds are hung 
Tound with ghosts. The chiefs of the south gathered 
round tlie echoing shield of Crothar. He came with 
death to the paths of the foe. The virgins wept, by 
the streams of UUin. They looked to the mist of the 
hill, no hunter descended from its folds. Silence dark- 
■ened in the land : blasts sighed lonely on grass v tombs. 

" Descending like the eagk of heaven, with all his 
rustling wings, when he forsakes the blast with joy, 
the son of Trenmor came ; Conar, arm of death, from 
Morven of the groves. He poured his might along 
green Erin. Death dimly strode behind his sword. 
The sons of Bolga fled from his course, as from a stream, 
that bursting from the stormy desert, rolls the fields to- 
gether with all their echoing woods. Crothar f met 
him in battle : but Alnecma's v/arriors fled. The king 
of Atha slowly retired, in the grief of his soul. He, 
afterwards shone in the south ; but dim as the sun of 
autumn, when he visits, in his robes of mist, Lara of 
<lark streams. The v/ithcred grass is covered with dew: 
the field, though bright, is sad." 

" Why wakes the bard before me,'' said Cathmor, 
" the memory of those who fled ? Has some ghost, from 
his dusky cloud, bent forward to thine ear ; to frighten 
Cad:imor from the field with the tales of old ? Dwellers 

f The delicacy of the hard, with regard to Crothar, is rernarkablc. 
As he wris the ancestor of C;4thmor, to whom the epi-ode is address- 
ed, the b-rd softens liis defeat, by only mentioning thnt his people 
ficd. Cathmrr took the song of Fonar in an unfavourable lipht. 
The hards, being of tlie order of tlie dnnds, who pretended to a fore- 
knowledge of events, were supposed to have supernatural prescience 
of futurity. The king thought, that the choice of Fonar's song 
proceeded from his fonseing the Tinfortunate issue cf the war; anJ 
that his own fate was shadowed out, in that cf his ancestor Crothar. 
'i"»>e attitude of the hard, after tlie reprimand of his patron, is pictu- 
resque and affecting. Weadmirethespeech of Cathmor, but lameat 
the effect it has on the feeling soul of the good old pcct. 

[Book II. AN EPIC POEM. 131 

[of the folds of night, your voice Is but a blast to' me • 
\vhich takes the .u;rey thistle's head, aud strews its beard 
on iti c.iins. V/itliin niy bosom is a voice, others hear 
it not. His soul forbids the king of Eriii to shrink back 
from war.''' 

Abashed the bard sinks back in night ; retired, he 
bends above a stream, his thoughts are on the days of 
Atha, when Cathmor heard his song with joy. His 
tears come rolling down : the winds are in his beard. 

Erin sleeps around. No sleep comes downonCath- 
inor's eyes. Dark, In his soul, he saw tJhe spirit of 
lovz-laid Cairbar. lie saw him, without his song, roll- 
ed in a blast of niglit. He rose. His steps were round 
the host. lie struck, at times, his echoing shield. The 
sound reached Ossian's ear, on Mora of the hinds. 

" Fillan," I said, '' the foes advance. I hear the 
hield of v*ar. Stand thou in the narrow path. Ossi- 
an shall mark their course. If over my fall the host 
shall pour; then be tJiy buckler heard. Awake the 
king on his heath, lest his tame should cease." I strode 
in all my rattling arms ; wide bounding over a stream 
that darkly winded, in the field, before the king of A- 
tha. Green Atha's king, with lifted spear, came for- 
ward on my course. Now would we have mixed in 
horrid tray, like uvo contending ghosts, that bending 
forward, from two clouds, send forth the roaring 
Ai'inds ; did not Ossian behold, on high, the helmet of 
Erin's kings. The eagles wings spread abgve it, rust-, 
fing in the breeze. A red star looked thiough the 
plumes. I stopt the lifted spear. 

" The helmet of kings is before me ! Who art thou 
son of night ? Shall Ossian's spear be renowned, when 
tliou art lowly laid ?" At once he dropt the gleaming 
lance. Growing before me seemed the form. He 
stretched his hand in night ; and spoke the words of 

" Friend of the spirit of heroes, do I meet thee thus 
jn sliades ? I have wished for thy stiitcly steps in Atha^ 
in the days offcast;. Why shoiJd my spear nov/ a,-* 


rise ? The sun must behold us, Ossian ; V/hen we bend, 
gleaming, m the strife. Future warriors shall mark 
tiie place ; and shuddering think of other years. They 
shall mark it, like the haunt of ghosts, pleasant and 
dreadful to the soul." 

*' And sliall It be forgot," I said» " where we meet 
in peace ? Is the remembrance of battles always plea- 
cant to the soul ? Do not we behold, with joy, the place 
where our fathers feasted ? But our eyes are full of tears, 
on the field of their wars. This stone shall rise, v/ith 
all its moss, and speak to other years. Here Cuthmor 
and Ossian met ! the warriors met in peace ! When 
tliou, O stone, shalt fail ; and Lubar's stream roll quite 
away! then shall the traveller come, and bend here per- 
haps, in rest. Wl;en the darkened moon is rolled over 
his head, our shadowy forms miay come, and mixing 
with his dreams, remind him of this place. But why 
turnest thou so dark awav, son of Borbar-duthul ? r." 

" Not forgot, son of Fingal, shall v/e ascend these 
winds. Our deeds are streams of light, before the eyes 
of bards. But darkness is rolled on Atha ; the king is 
low, without his song : still there was a beam towards 
Cathmor from his stormy soul ; like the moon^inacloud, 
amidst the dark-red course of thunder." 

" Son of Erin," I replied, " my wrath dwells not 
in his house ^. My hatred Hies, on eagle wing, fi-om 
the foe that is low. He shall hear the song of bards ; 
Cairbar shall rejoice on his winds." 

Cathraor's swelling soul srose : he took the dagger 

g Borbar-duthul. 'the surly warrior of the dark brown eyes.* 
Tliat lib rair.e suited well with his character, we may easily con- 
ceive, from the story delivered concerning him by Maltlios, to.vard 
the end of the sixth book He was tlie brother of that ColcuIla,wh« 
is mentioned in the episode which begins the fourth Ixiok. 

h 1 he grave, often poetically called a house. 'Iliisrep'vofOgsian 
al)bund.<; with the nmst exalted sentiments of a noblerr.ind. Though 
of an men living he was the most injured by Cairbar, yet he laid asid^ 
liis rage, as the foe was low. How ditTerent is rhisfrtim the bihaviOL" 
cf the heroes of other aniient poenrs ! ' CyatJilus aurem ••?^it,' 

Book II. AN Eric POEM. las 

from his side ; and placed it gleaming in mv hand. He 
placed it, in my hand, with siglis, and, silent, strode 
awciy. Mine eyes followed his departure. He dimly 
gleamed, like the form of a ghost, which meets a tra- 
veller by night, on the dark-skirted heath. His words 
are darlc like songs of old : v^'ith morning strides the 
unfinished shade away.. 

Who » comes from Lubar's vale ? From the folds 
of tlie morning mist ? The drops of heaven are on hi? 
head. His steps are in the paths of the sad. It is Car- 
rii of other times. He comes from Tiija's silent cave. 
I behold it dark in the rock, through the thin folds of 
mist. There, perhaps, Cucliullin sits, on tlie blast 
Which bends its trees. Pleasant is tlie song of tiie 
morning from the bard of Erin ! 

*' The waves crowd away for fear : they hear the 
;ound of thy coming forth, O sun ! Terrible is thy 
beauty, son of heaven, when death is folded in thy 
locks ; when thou rollest thy vapours before thee, over 
the blasted host. But pleasant is thy beam to the hunt- 
er, sitting by the rock in a s^orm, when thou looke<!t 
from thy parted cloud, and brightenest his dewy locks ; 
he looks down on the streamy vale, and beholds the 
descent of roes. How long shalt thou rise on v/ar, and 
roll, a bloody shield, throvigh heaven ? I see the deaihs 
of heroes dark-wind ering over thy face V 

" Why wander the words of Carrii ? Does the sun 
of lieaven mourn ? He is unstained in his course^ ever 
rejoicing in his fce. Roil on, thou careless light ; 
thou too, perhaps, must fall. Thy dun robe k may 
seize thee, struggling, in thy sky. 

i The morninjj of the second day, f'-om the openlr.g »f the poena, 
comes on. After the deatli of Cuchuihn, Carnl the son of Kinfcna, 
his bard, rcilr^d to the cave of Tura, whioli was ir. the neiphbou-- 
hood of Moi ieaa, the scif:ne of the poem of Teinora. His casual ap- 
pearance i.ere enables Ossian to fuiftl inmediately the proiriac ijc 
hnd made to CathmOr, of causing tic fuusral su.ig to be pronounc-"! 
over the tomb of Calrbar. This bcoi only takes up the space cf 3 
few hours. 

k By the duti ro1»e or the sur, U pro^-x'Jy rrca^r; an eclirSi, 

Vol. II. M 

134 temora: Book II, 

_ " Pleasant is the voice of the song, O Carril, to Os- 
siim's 5fOul ! It is like the shower of the morning, when 
it eomes through the nigthng vale, on which the sun 
looks through mist, just rising from his rocks. But this 
is no time, O bard! to sit down at the strife of spng. Fin- 
gal is in arms on the vale. Thou seest the flaming sliield 
ot" the king. Hi^ face darkens betv/een his locks. He 
beholds the wide rolling of Erin. 

" Does not Carril behold that tomb, beside the roa;-- 
ing stream ? Three stones lift their grey heads be- 
r.cath a bending oak. A king is iovv'ly laid ; give diou 
his soul to the w'nd. He is the brother of Cathmor ! 
Open his airy haJl ! Let thy song be a stream of joy 
;o Cairbar's darkened gl:03t." 

T E M O R A : 

THE ARGUMENT. coming on, Fingal, aftcrafpeech to his people, devolve* 
. the command on Gaul, the son of Morni; it being the custom of 
the tiiTie?, that the king should nat engage, till the neceasity of 
affairs required hi? superior valour and conduct. The king and 
Ossian retire to the rock of Conmil, which overlooked t!:c held of 
battle. The bards sing the war-song. The general conflict is 
described. Gaul, tlic son of Morni diitingui^iies hitnj>e!f ; kills 
Tur-lathon, chief of Moruth, and other chiefs of leaser name. Oa 
the other hand, Foldath, who commanded the Irish army (for 
Cathmor, after the example of Fingal. kept himself from battle) 
fights gallantly ; kills Coimal, chief of Dun-lora, and advances to 
engage Gaui himself. Gaul, in the mean time, being wounded in 

■; the hand, by a random arrow, is covered by Fillan, the son of Fia- 

gal, who perforrhs prodigies of valour. Night comes on. The 

• horn of Fingal recals his army, 'tlie bards meet them, with a 

' , congratulatory song, Sn whicli the praises of Gaul and Fillan are 
particularly celebrated. The chiefs «it dowi, a: a feastj Fingal 

i. misses Connal. The episode of Connaland DutTl»:aron is iutro- 

;''! dHced J which throws further light on the ancient history of Ire- 
JaHd. C-arril is dispatched to raise the tom-i) of Confial. The ac- 
tion of this book takes up the t.e-cond day, from the opening of the 


WH o is that, at blue-streaming Lubar ; by the bend- 
ing hili of the roes ? Tail, he leans on an oak 
torn from high, by nightly winds. Who but Comhal's 
son, brightening in the last of his fields ? His grey nair 
is on the breeze : he half unsheathes the sword of Lu- 
no. His eyes are turned to Moi-lena, to the dark roll- 
ing of foes. Dost thou hear the voice of the kiiig ? it 
is like the bursting of a stream in the d^jsert, when it 
comes between its echoing rocks, to the blasted field 
of the sun. * 

" Wide-skirted comes down the foe ! Sons of woody 

Morven, arise. Be ye like the rocks of my land, oa 

whose brown sides are the rolling of waters. A beam 

' of joy comes on my soul ; I see them mighty bstore 

nii. It is when the foe is feeble, that the sighs of F'lRr 

1S6 temora: Book IIL 

gal are heard ; lest death should come ■without renown, , 
and darkness dwell on his tomb. Who shall lead the 
war, against the host of Alnecma ? It is only when dan- 
ger grows, that my sword shall shine. Such was the 
cdstora, heretofore, of Trenmor the ruler of winds : and 
thus descended to battle the blue-shielded Trathal.' 

The chiefs bend towards the king ; each darkly seems 
to ckim the war. They tell, by halves, their mighty 
deeds: and turn their eyes on Erin. But far before the 
rest the son of Morni stood ; silent he stood, for who 
had not heard of the battles of Gaul ? They rose with- 
in his soul. His hand, in secret, seized the sword. The 
sword whi,ch he brought from Striimon, when the 
sli ength of Morni failed i. 

1 Strumon, ' stream of tte hill,' the name of the seat of tlie fa* 
mily of Gaul, in the neighbourliood of Sclnia. During G.aul's expe- 
dition to Tromarhon, riientioncd in the poem oiOithona, Morni his 
father died. Murni ordered the sword of Siriniion. (which had been 
prcFcrvcd in the family, as a reiique, from the days of Colgacli, the 
most renowned of his ancestors) to be laid by his side, in the tomb : 
at the same time leaving it in charge to his son, not to take it from 
thence, till he was reduced to the last extremity. Not long after, 
two of his brothers being slain, in battb, by Coldaronnan, chief of 
Clutlia, Gaul went to his father's tomb to rake the sword. His ad- 
dress to the spirit of the deceased liero, is the ouly part now remain- 
ing, of a poem of Obsian on the subject. I shall here lay it before 
the reader. 

Gaul. " Breaker of echoing shields, whose head is deep in shades j 
Jicar me from the darkness of Clora. O son cf Colgach hear ! 

No rustling, like the eagle's wing, comes over the course of m.y 
s'rcams. Deep-bosomed in the midst of the desert, OkingofStru- 

Dwelljst thou in the shadowy breeze, that pours its dark wave 
over the grass? Cease to strew the beard of the thistle j O chief ol 
Clora, hear ! 

Or ridest thou on a beam, amidxt the dark trouble of clouds i, 
l^ourest thou the loud wind on the seas, to roll their blue waves orer 
islfes? hear me, father of Gaui ; amidst thy terrors, hear! 

The rustling of eagles is heard, the murmuring oaks shake their 
Iieads on the hills; dreadful and pleasant is thy approach, friend of 
fh£ dwelling of heroes. 

Morni. Who awakes me in thz midst of my clouds, where my. 


On his spcnr staod the son of Clatho m in the wan- 
dering of his locks. Thrice he raised his eyes to Fin- 
gid : his voice thrice fidied Jiim, as he spoke. Filka 
could not boast of battles ; at once he strode away. 
Bent over a distant stream he stood : tlie tear hung in 
lii- eye. He struck, at times, the thistle's head, with 
his inverted spear. 

Nor is he unseen of Fingal. Sidelong he beheld his 
son. He beheld him, with bursting joy ; and turned, 
amidst his crov/ded soul. In silence turned the king 
towards Mora of woods. He hid the big tear with his 
locks. _ At iengtli his voic6 is heard. 

" First of the sons of Morni ; thou rock that defiest 
the storm ! Lead thou my battle, for the rs.ce of low- 
laid Cormac. No boy's staff is thy spear : no harm- 
less beam of light thy sword. Son of Morni of steeds, 
behold the foe ; destroy. Fiilan, observe the chief: 
he is not calm in strife : nor burns he, heedless, in bat- 
tle : my son, observe the king. He is strong as Lubar'i 
stream, but never foams and roars. High on cloudy 
Mora, Fingal shall behold the war. Stand, Ossian □, 
near thy father, by the falling stream. Raise the voice, 
O bards ! Morven, move beneath the sound. It is nay 
latter field ; clothe it over with light." 

As die sudden rising of winds, or distant rolling of 

locks of mist spread on tlie winds? Mixed with the noise of strea;iis, . 
ivhy rkes the voice of Gaul ? 

Gaul. My foes are around me, Morni ; tUeir dark ships descend 
<TOin their waves. Give the sword of Strumon, that beam whitli 
H;ou hidestin tiiy night. 

Moriii, Take the sword of resounding Strumon j I look on thy 
war. my son ; I look, a dim meteor, from my cloud j blue-sliii^ldeil 
Gajl, destroy." 

m Cla'.ho was the d.-iutriifer of Catliulla, king of Inistore. Fingal, 
in one of his expeditiiirs to that island, fell in love with Clatho. and 
too< her to wife, after the death of Ros-craua, Uk daughter of Cor- 
ing', kijig of Ireland. 

Clatho was tlie mother rf Ryno, Filian, and Bosmina, mentioned 
in the battle of Lora. Filian is often called the son of Clatho, tt> 
distinguish him from those sons which Fingal had by Roscrana. 

II Ullin being sent to Moxven with the body of Oscar, Os»ian a*;* 
tgndi his fatiicr, in quality of chief bard. 
M 3 

188 TEMORA: Bock. III. 

troubled seas, when some dark ghost, in wrath, heaven 
the billows over an isle, the scat of mist, on.the deep, 
for many dark-brown years : so terrible is the sound 
of the host, wide-moving over the field. Gaul is tall 
before them : the streams glitter within his strides. The 
bards raised the.songbyhis side ; he siruckhisshieldbe-^ 
tween. On the skirts of the blast thetunefulvoicesarose. 

" On Crono," said tne bards, " there bursts a stream 1 
by night. It swells in its own dark course, till morn- I 
ing's early beam. Then comes it white from the hill, ' 
with the rocks and their hundred gro^ es. Far be my 
Steps from Crona : Death is tumbling there. Be ye a 
stream from Mora, sons of cloudy Morven." 

" Who rises, from his car, on Clutha ? The bills are 
troubled before the king! Tlie dark woods echo round, 
and lighten at his steel. See him, amidst the foe, like 
Colgach'so sportful ghost ; when he scatters the clouds, 
and rides the eddyirg wings: It is Mornii' of the 
bounding steeds ! Be like thy father, Gaul i" 

" Selma is opened wide. Bards take the trembling 
Larps. Ten youths carry the oak of the feast. A dis- 

e There are >ome traditions, but, I believe, of late invention, that 
this Colgach was the same with the Galgacus of racitus He 
l!ie ancestor cf G.ail. the s(<n of Morni, and appears, from some 
really ancient traditions, to have been king, or Vergobret, of th< 
letioiiians-j and hence pr(;cetdeil tl'.e pretens-ions of the family of. 
*lGrni to the throne, whicli created a good deal yf disturbance, both 
to Ccmhal and his son Finpal. 'I he tirst was killed in battle by 
that tribe ; and it was after Fingal was grown up, that they wei 
tiuced to obedience. signifies 'fiercely looking;' whicii • 
is a very proper name for a warrior, and is probably ihe origin of 
Calgacuf ; thnugh I believe it is a matter of mere conjecture, that 
riie Colgach here mcritiored was the same wirli that hero. I cati- 
Tiut help observing, with how much propriety the song of the bards 
i« conducted. Gam, whose experience miglit have rendered his con- 
ci'i-t cautious in war, has tiie example of his father, just rushing to 
baUle. set h-efore h^seyes. Fi'Tian, on the other hand, whose youth 
fight make Jiim impetuous and unguarded ill action, is put in mind, 
of ?! e sedate and se»eue behaviour of Fingal upon like occasions. 
p The cf Morni to Ciuilu, alluded :o. is lianiied dowa 

Book III. AN EPIC POEM. 139 

tant sun-he;im marks the hilL The dusky waves of 
the blast fly over the fields of grass. Why art thou 
so silent, Morven ? The king returns with all his fame. 
Did not the battle roar ; yet peaceful is his brow ? It 
roared, and Fingal overcame. Be likethy father, Fillan." 

They moved beneath the song. High waved their 
arms, as rushy fields beneath autumnal winds. On 
Mora stood the king in arms. Mist flies round his 
buckler bread as iloft, it hung on a bough, on Cor- 
mul's m.ossy rock. In silence I stood by Firgal, and 
turned my eyes on Gromla's 4 wood : lest I should be- 
hold the host, and rush amidst my swelling soul. My 
foot is forward on the heath. I glittered, tall, in steel : 
like the f dling stream of Tromo, which nightly vv^inds 
bind over with ice. The boy sees it, on high, gleaming 
to the early beam : towards it he turns his ear, and 
wonders why it is so silent. 

Nor bent over a stream is Cathmor, like a youth in a 
peaceful field : wide he drew forward the war, a dark 
and troubled wave. But when he beheld Fingal on 
Mora, his generous pride arose. " Shall the chief of 
Atha fight, and no king in the field ? Foldath, lead my 
people forth. Thou art a beam of fire." 
. Forth issued the chief of Moma, like a cloud, the 
robe of ghosts. Ke drev/ his sword, a flame from Ins 
side ; and bade the battle move. The tribes, like rid- 
gy waves, dark pour their strength around. Haughvy 
is his stride before them : his red eye rolls in wrath. 
He called the chief of Dunratho r ; and his words w^re 

q The mountain Cromla was '« the neighbourhood of the scene 
of this poem ; which was nearly the same with that of 

r Dun-ratho, ' a hill with a plain on its top.' Cormuil, • blre 
c>c.' Fold.uh t;i^l)a'•ches, here, Cormul to lie in aml^iish behind the 
army of the Caledonians. This speech suits well with the character 
pf Foldath, which is, throughout, haughty and presumptuous. To- 
wards the latter end of his speech, we tind the opinion of the times 
concerning the unhappincss of the soul of those who were buried 
7\ ithout the funeral song. This doctrine, no doubt, was in^iiic .c ci 

y theksids to make tlle^ crCcr lesy qctatl? and necessary. 

140 T. E M R A i Book III 

" Cormii], thou oeholdest that path. It winds greert 
behind the foe. Place thy people there ; lest Morven 
should escape from my sword. Bards of green-valleyed 
Erin, let no voice of yours arise. The sons of Morven 
jnust fall without song. They are the foes of Cairbar. 
Hereafter shall the traveller nneet their dark, thick mist 
on Lena, where it wanders, v/ith their ghosts, beside 
the reedy lake. Kever shall they rise, without song, to 
the dwelling of winds.'' 

Cormul darkened as he went : behind him rushed 
liis tribe. They sunk beyond the rock : Gaul spoke to 
Fillan of Moruth ; as his eye pursued the course of the 
dark-eved king of Dunratho. " Thou beholdest the 
steps ot Cormul ; let thine arm be strong. When he is 
low, son of Fingal, remember Gaul in war. Here I 
fall forward into battle, amidst the ridge of shields.'* 
_ The sign of death arose : the dreadful sound of Mor- 
ri's shield. Gaul poured his voice betv/een. Fingal 
rose, high on Mora. He saw them, from wing to wing, 
bending in the strife. Gleaming, ofi his own dark hill^ 
the strength of Atha stood. They were like two spi- 
rits of heaven, standing each on his gloomy cloud ; 
when they pour abroad the v/inds, and lift the roaring 
Eeas. Tlie blue-tumbling pf waves is before them, 
marked with the paths of whales. Themselves are calm 
and bright ; arid the gale lifts their locks of mist. 

What beam cf light hangs high in air ? It is Mor- 
ni's dreadful sv/ord. Death is strewed on thy paths, 
O Gaul ; thou foldest tiiem together in thy rage. Like 
a young oak falls Turlathon % with his branches round 
him. His high-bosomed spouse stretches her white 
arms, in dreams, to the returning king, as she sleeps by 
gurgling Morath, in her disordered locks. It is his 
ghost, Oichoma; thp chief is lowly laid. Hearken not 
to the wirrds for Turlathon's echoing shield. It i5 
pierced, by his streams, and its sound is passed away, 

s Tuflathon. 'broad trunk of a tree.' Moruth. 'great stream.' 
Oioch^tno, ' mild maid.' Dim-Iora, » the hill of theROisy stream.* 
2)u:K caron, ' dark brown man.^ 

Book II. AN EPIC POEIvr. 141 

Not peaceful is the hand of Foldath : he winds his 
course in blood, Connal met him in fight ; they mix- 
ed their clanging steel. Why should mine eyes behold 
them ! Connal, thy locks are grey. Thou wert the 
friend of strangers, at the moss-covered rock of Dun-lo- 
ra. When the skies were rolled together ; then thy 
feast was spread. The stranger heard the winds with- 
out ; and rejoiced at thy burning oak. Why, son of 
Duth-caron, art thou laid in blood ! The blasted tree 
bends above thee : thy shield lies broken near. Thy 
blood mixes with the stream ; thoiibreakeroftheshields ! 

1 took the spear, in my wrath ; but Gaul rushed for- 
ward on the foe. The feeble pass by his side ; his rage 
is turned on Moma's chief. Now they had raised their 
deathful spears : unseen an arrow came. It pierced 
the hand of Gaul ; his steel fell sounding to earth. 
Young Fillan earned with Cormul's shield, and stretch- 
ed it lai-ge before the king. Foldath sent his shout a- 
broad, and kindled all the field: a blast that kfts the 
broad-winged flame, over Liunon's u echoing groves. 

" Son of blue-eyed Clatho," said Gaul, thou art a 
beam from heaven ; that coming on the troubled deep, 
binds up tlie ten?pest's wing. Cormul is fallen before 
thee. Early art thou in the fame of thy fathers. Rush 
not too far, my hero, I cannot hft the spear to aid. I 
stand harmless in battle : but my voice shall be poured 
abroad. The sons of Morven shall hear, and remem- 
ber my former deeds." 

His terrible voice rose on the wind, the host bend for- 
ward in the fight. Often have they heard him at Stru- 
mon, when he called them to the chase of the hinds. — 
Himself stood tall, amidst the war, as an oak in the 
skirts of a storm, which now is clothed, on high, in mist : 

t Fillan had been dispatched by Gaul to oppose Corniul, who had 
been sent by Foldath to He in ambush behind tlie Caledonian army- 
It appears tfiAt Fillan had kilkd Corniul, otherwise he could not be 
supposed to have possessed himself of the slaeld of that chief, 

u Lumon, ' bendinj hill;' a mountain in Inis-huna, or thit parU 
pi South-fritain, \vhi;h lies over-against tUe Irish eoast. 

142 temOra: Book hi. ■ 

then shows its broad, waving head ; the musing hunter 
lifts his eye from his own rushy lield. 

My soul pursues thee, O Fillan, through the path of 
tliy fame. Thou rollest the foe before thee. Now ■ 
Foldath, perhaps, would fly ; but night came down 
with its clouds ; and Cathmor's horn was heard. The 
sons of Morven heard the voice of Fingal, from Mora's 
gathered mist. The bards poured their song, like dew, 
on tliC returning war. 

" Who comes from Strumon," they said, " amidst 
her wandering locks ? She is mournful in her steps, and 
lifts her blue eyes towards Erin. Why art thou sad> 
Evir-choma^ ! Wlio is like thy chief in renown ? He 
descended dreadful to battle : he returns, like a light 
from a cloud. He lifted the sword in wrath : they 
shrunk before blue -shielded Gaul ! 

" Joy, like the rusding gale, comes on the soul of 
the king. He remembers the battles of old ; the days 
wherein his fathers fought. The days of old return 
en ringal's mind, as he beholds the renown of his son. 
As the sun rejoices from his cloud, over the tree his 
beams have raised, as it shakes its lonely head on die 
lieath ; so joyful is the king over Fillan. 

" As the rolling of thunder on hills, when Lara's 
fields are still and dark, such are the steps of Morven, 
pleasant and dreadful to the ear. They return with 
their sound, like eagles to their dark-brov/ed rock, after 
the prey is torn on the field, the dun sons of the bound- 
ing hind. Your fathers rejoice from their clouds, sons 
of streamy Cona." 

_ Such was the nightly voice of loards, on Mora of the 
hinds. A flame rose, from an hundred oaks, which 
winds had torn horn Cormul's steep. The feast is 
spread in the midst : around sat the gleaming chiefs. 
Fingal is there in his strength ; die eagle-wing w of his ^ 

V Evir-choma, • mild and stately maid,' the wife of Gaul. She the daughter of Casdu-bonglass chief of I-dronlo, one of the He- 

v/ The kiRgs of Morven ar.d Iretand had a plume of eajlc's fea« 

Book III. AN EPIC POEM. 143 

helmet sounds : tlic rustling blasts of the west, unequa* 
rushed through night : Long looked the king in silence, 
round : at length his words were heard. 

" My soul ftels a want in our joy. I behold a breach 
among 'my fiiends. The head of one tree is low : the 
squally wind pours in on Selma. Where is the chief 
of Dun-lora? Ought he to be forgot at the feast? 
When did he forget th3 stranger, in the midst of his e- 
choing hall ? Ye are silent in my presence ! Connal is 
then no more. Joy meet diee, O warrior, like a stream 
of light. Swift be thy course to tliy fathers, in the 
folds of the mountain-winds. Ossi^m, thy soul is fire : 
kindle the memory of the king. Awake the battles of 
Connal, when first he shone in war. The locks of Con- 
nal were grey ; his days of youth x were mixed with 
mine. In one day Duth-caron first strung our bows 
■' against the roes of pun-lora." 

" Priany," I said, " are our paths to battle, in green- 
hilled Inis-fail. Often did our sails arise, oyer the blue- 
tumbling waters ; when we came, in other days, to aid 
the race of Conar. The strife roared once in Alnecma, 
at the foam- covered streams of Dudi-ulav. Widi Cor- 
rrac descended to battle Duth-caron from cloudy Mor- 
ven. Nor descended Duth-caron alone; his son was by 
his side, the long haired youth of Connal liiting the first 
of his spears. Thou didst comm.and diem, O Fingal, 
to aid the king of Erin. 

t]iers,by w.iy of orna.ment, intheirheimets. It was from this dis- 
tini^uished mark tlkat Ossian knew C'aibmor, in the sccon Jbaok. 

X Afcer the death of Comlul, and diirin"; the usurpation of the 
tribe of Merni, Fingal wa» educated in private by Duth caron, which 
occasions his regreuing so mucl) hi-; f.ill. When Fingal was grown 
up, he soon reduced the tribe of Movni ; and, as it appear* from the 
subsequent episoc-, sent Duth-caron and his son Connal to the aid of 
iL'ormac, the son of Coaar, king of Ireland, who was driven to the 
last CKtretnity, by the insurrections of the Firbolg. This episode 
thrajvs furtlier light on the contests between the Cael and Firbo'.^j ; 
andis the more \^Al«»able upon that account. 

V Duth ulj, a r'.ver ip Cynjiarivhtj i: sjgni&es, • dart ruiki^g 

144 temora: BookllJ., 

" Like the bursting strength of a stream, the sons of 
Bolga rushed to war : Colc-ulla ^ was before them, ths 
chief of blue-streaming Atha. The battle was mixed 
on the plain, like the nriecting of two stormy seas. 
Corrnac a shone in his own strife, bright as the form 
of his fathers. But far before the rest, Duth-caroh 
hewed down the foe. Nor slept the arm of Conna?, 
by his father's side. Atha prevailed on the plain ; like 
scattered mist fled the people of Ullin b. 

" Then rose the sword of Duth-carcn, and the steel 
of broad-shielded Connal. They shaded their flying 
friends, like two rocks with their heads of pine. Night 
came down on Duth-ula ; silent strode the chiefs over 
the field. A mountain-stream roared across the path, 
nor could Duth-caron bound over its course. " Wh y 
stands my father ?" said Connal, " I hear the rushing 

z Colculla, ' firm look in i-eadiness ;' be was the brother of Eor- 
bar-diuliul, the father of Caith.^r and Cithmor, who, after the death 
of Cormac the son of Artho, successively mounted the Irish throne. 

a Cormac, the son of Conar, the second king of Ireland, cf the 
J-ace of the Caledonians. This insurrection of the Firboij; happen- 
ed towards the latter end of the long reign of Cormac. Frona seve- 
ral episodes and poems it appears, that lie never possessed the Irish 
throne peaceably. The party of the family of Atha, !iad made se- 
veral attempts to overturn the suGcesfion in the r3.ce of Conar, be- 
fore they ert'ected it, in the minority of Cormac, the son of Artho. 
Ireland, from the most ancient accounts concerning it, seems to 
have been always so disturbed by domestic commotions, that it is 
d'.fSciilt to say, whether it ever was, for any length cf time, subject 
to on« monarch. It is certain, that every province, if not every 
^mall district, had its own king. One of those petty princes assumed, 
at times, the title of king of Ireland, and, on account of hi'^ superior 
force, or in cases of public danger, was ackuowledj;ed by the rest as 
such ; but the succession from father to son, doe« not appear to have 
been establisiied. It 'vas the divisions amohgst themselves, arising 
from the bad constitution of their governmeut, that, at last, sub- 
jected the Irish to a foreign yoke. 

b 7 he inhabi'-ants of Ullin, or Ulster, who were of the race of t!:e 
Caledonians, seem alone to have been the tirm friends to the succs- 
sion in the family of Conar. TiiC Firbolg were only subject to them 
by constraint, and embraced every opj ortun'!*-y to clirow cfT xLclt 

Book III. AN EPIC POEM. 14j 

" Fly Connal," he said ; *' thy fatlier's strength be- 
gins to fail. I come wounded trom battle ; here let 
me rest in night." *' But thou shall not reniain alone," 
said Connal's bursting sigh. " My shield is an eagle's 
wing to cover the chief of Dun-lora," He bends dark 
above tJie chief: the mighty Duth-caron dies. 

'' Day ros2, and night returned. No lonely bard ap- 
peared, deep musing on the heath : and could Connal 
leave the tomb of his Either, till he should receive his 
fame r He bent the bow against the roes of Duth-ula ;- 
he spread the lonely feast. Seven nights he laid his 
head on the tomb, and savv'' his father in his dreams. 
He saw him rolled dark, in a blast, like the vapour of 
reedy Lego. — At lengdi, tiie steps of Colganc came, 

c Colgan, the son of Lathmul, was the principal bard of Corrp^c 
Mac Ccnar, king of Ireland. Part of an old poem on tl.e iovesof 
Fingal and Ros-crana, is still preserved, and goes under the name af 
this ODlg^.r ; but whether it is of his coinposition, or the production 
of a later age, I shall no' pretend to detern:iine. Be that as it vyIH, 
it appears, from the obsolete phrases wliich it contains, to be very- 
ancient: a:id its poetical merit pjay pcrliaps excuse me for layii^g 
a translation of it before the reader. \\ hat remains of the poem is 
a dialogue in a lync measure, between Fingal and Rcj-crana, tl.e 
daughter of Cormac. She begins with a soliloquy, which is over- 
heard by Fingal. 

Ros-crana. " By night, catr.c a dream toRos-crana! I feci mv 
beating soul. No vision of the forms of the dead, came to the blue 
eyes of Enn. But, ri.siug from the wave of t! e north, I beheid. 
l:im b right in his lacks. I beheid the son .)f the king. My beatinj^ 
sou! is liigh. I laid my head down in niglit : again ascended the form. 
Wby delayest thou thy cc-nir.g, young rider of streamy \vav,.s ! 

But, there, far distant, he comes; where seas roll their green 
ridges ir. miat ! Young dweller of roy soul, why dost thou delay ! 

Fingrtl. It was the soft voice of Moilena ! the pleasant breeze of 
the valley of roes ! But why uost thou hide thee in shades? Younj- 
love of heroes, rise. 

Ros cr^ra. My fluttering soul is high! Let me turn from t!ie 
steps of the king. He has heard my secret voice, and shall my h]u- 
cycs roll, in his presence ! Roe of tlie hill of moss, toward thy dwei- 
ing I move. Meet me, ye breezes of Mora, as I move through the 
va'.hy of wmds. But why should he ascend his ocean ? Son of he- 
roes, my soul Is tl:ine ! My steps shall noj nijvc to ::x ds»«i: : th^ 
Jight of Ro^-crana is here. 
Vol. 11. H 

146 temoha: Book IE* 

the bard of high Temora. Duth-caron received his 
fame, and brightened, as he rose on the wind." 

" Pleasant to the ear," said Fingal, " is the praise of 
the kings of men ; when their bows are strong in bat- 
tle J when th.ey softefi at the sight of the sad. Thus 
let my name be renowned, when bards shall lighten my 
rising soul. Carril, son of Kin.fena; take the bards, 
and raise a tomb. To-night let Connal dwell within 
his naiTow house : let not the soiJ of the valiantwan- 
der on tlie winds. Faint glimmers the moon on Moi- 
lena, through the broad-headed groves of the hill; raise 
stones, beneath its beams, to all the fallen in war. 
Though no chiefs were they, yet their hands were 
strong in fight. They were my rock in danger : the 
mountain from which I spread my eagle wings. I'hence 
am I renowned : Carril forget not the lo"w." 

Louc^ at once, from the hundred bards, rose the song 
of the tomb. Cairil strode before them ; they are the 
iHurmur of streams behind him. Silence dwells in the 
vales of Moi-lena, where each, with its ov/n dark stream, 
is v/inding between the hills, I heard the voice of the 
bards, lessening as tiiey moved along. I leaned for- 
ward from my shield ; and felt the kindling of my sou!. 
Half-formed, the words of my song, burst forth upon 
the wind. So hears a tree, on the vale, the voice of 
spring around: it pours its green leaves to tjie sun, and 
shakes its lonely head. The hum of the mountain bee 
is near it ; the hunter sees it, with joy, from the blasted 

Young Fillan at a distance stood. His helmet lay 
glittering on the ground. His dark hair is loose to the, 

ringal. It was the light tread of a ghost, the fair dweller of eddy- 
ing vyinds. Why dcceivest thou me, with tl\y voice? Here let me 
rest in shades. Sliouldst thou stretcli thy white arm, from thy 
grove, thoii sun-beam of Connac of Erin ! 

Ros crana. He is gone ! and my blue eyes are dim :. faint-rolling, 
in all my tears. But, there, I behold him, alone; king of Morven, 
my soul is thine. Ah mc i what danginr armour! Cuk-uUa of A' 
thfi is iieav 1" 

Book III. AN EPIC POEM. 147 

blast : a beam of light is Clatho's son. He heard the 
words of the king with joy ; and leaned forward on his 

'' My son," said car-borne Fingal ; " I saw thy deeds, 
and my soul was glad. The fame of our fathers, I 
said, bursts from its gathered cloud. Thou art brave, 
son of Clatho ; but headlong in the strife. So did not 
Fingiil advance, though he never feared a foe. Let 
thy people be a ridge behind ; they are thy strength in 
the field. Then shalt thou be long renovv^ned, and be- 
hold the tombs of thy fathers. The memory of the 
past returns, my deeds in other yeaj-s : when first I de- 
scended from ocean on the green valleyed isle.'^ We 
bend towards tlie voice of the king. The moon looks 
abroad from lier cloud. The grey- skirted mist is near, 
tlie dwelling of the ghosts. 


The second nis^lit continues. Fingal relates, at the feast, his own 
first cxpediciim into Irelrmd, artd liis marriage with Ros-cfana, the 
daughter of Connac, king of that island. The Irish chiefs con- 
vene in the presence of Cathmor. The situation of the king des- 
cribed. The story of Sul-malla, the daughter of Con-nr.or, king 
of inis-huaa, wlio, in the disguise of a young warrior, had follow- 
ed Cithmor to the war. The su'.leu behaviour of Foldath, who 
had commanded in the battle of the preceding day, renews the 
difl'erence between him aad Malthos; but Cathmor interposing, 
ends it. Tiie chitfs feast, and iiear the song of Fonar the bard. 
Cathmor retires to rest, at a distance from tiie army. The ghost 
of his brother Cairbar appears to hitn in a dream ; and obscurely 
fovetels the issue of the war. The soliloquy of the king. He dis- 
covers Sul-malla. Morning comes. Her solilcquy closes the book. 


" T> ENEATH d an oak," said the king, " I sat on Sel- 
XJ ma's streamy rock, when Connal rose* from the 
sea, with the brol:en spear of Duth-caron. Far distant 
stood the youth, and turned away his eyes ; for he re- ' 
membereG the steps of his father, on his own green hills. 
I darkened in my place : dusky thoughts rolled over 
my soul. The kings of Erin rose before me. I half- 
unsheathed my sword. Slowly approached the chiefs ; 
they lifted up their silent eyes. Like a ridge of clouds, 
they wait for the bursting forth of my voice : it was 
to them a wind from heaven to roil the mist away. 

" I bade my white sails to rise, before the roar of 
Cona's wind. Three hundred youths looked, from 
their waves on Fingal's bossy shield. High on the 

d This episode has an immediate conncctiori with the story of 
Connal and Duth-caron, in the latter end of the third book. Fingal, ' 
sitting beneath an oak, near the p^^^ace of Selina, discovers Connal 
just landing from Ireland. The danger which threatened Cormac, 
king of Ireland, induces him to sail immediately to that island. The 
sitory is introduced, by the king, as a pattern for the future behaviour 
of Fillan, who^e rashness in the preceding battle is rep rimaadcd. 

Book IV. AN EPIC POEM. 149 

mast it huftg, and marked the dark blue sea. But 
v/hen the night came down, I struck, at times, tlie 
warning boss : I struck, and Wked on high, for liery- 
hiiired Ul-erin <;. Nor wanting was the star of lieaven : 
It travelled red between the clouds : I pursued the love- 
ly beam, on the faint gleaming deep. With morning, 
Erin rose in mist. We came into the bay of Moilena, 
where its blue waters tumbled, in the bosom of echo- 
ing woods. Here Cermac, in his secret hall, avoided 
the strength of Colc-ulla. Nor he alone avoids the foe : 
tlie blue eye of Ros-crana is there : Ros-crana J" wliite- 
handed maid, the daugliter of the king. 

" Grey, on his pointless spear, came forth tlie aged 
steps of Cormac. He smiled, from his waving locks, 
but grief was in his soul. He saw us few before him, 
and his sigh arose. " I see the arms of Trenmor/' he 
said ; " and th-se are the steps of the king ! Fingal ! 
thou art a beam of light to Cormac's darkened soul. 
Early is thy fame, my son : but strong are the foes of 
Erin. They are like the roar of streams in the land, 
son of car-borne Comhal." 

" Yet they may be rolled g away,*' I said, in my ris- 
ing soul. " We are not of the race of the feeble, king 
of blue-shielded hosts. Why should fear come amongst 
us, like a ghost of night ? The soui of the valiant 
grows, as foes increase in the field. Roll no darkness, 
king of Erin, on the young in war." 

e Ul-erin, ' the guide to Ireland,' a star known by that name in 
tlic clays of, and very useful to ttiose wlio sailed, by nighta 
from the iricbrides, or Caledonia, to the coaot of Ulster. 

f Ros-crana, ' the beam of the rising sun ;' she was the mother of 
Ossian The Irish bards relate strange tictions of this princess. Their 
stories, however, concerning Fingal, if they mean by him Fion Mac- 
comhal, are so ineonsikient, and notoriously fabulous, that they do 
not deser%e to be mentioned ; for they evidently Lear along with 
them the marks of late mvention. 

g Cormac had said that his foes were '• like the roar of streams," 

and Fingal continues tlie metaphor. The -ipecch of the yoiinj; hero 

is spirited, and consistent with that sedate inir^-pijity, -.vhich cmi- 

iiently dislUiguisiics Uij character throughout, 

N 3 

ISO temora: Book IV. 

" The bursting tears of the king came down. He; 
eeized my hand in silence. " Race of the daring Tren- 
nior, I roll no cloud before thee. Thou bumest in the 
fire of thy fathers. I behold thy fame. It marks thy 
course in battles, like a stream of light. But wait the 
coming of Cairbar h : my son must join thy sword. He 
calls the sons of Ullin,from all their distant streams." 

We came to die hall of the king, where it rose in 
the midst of rocks : rocks, on whose dark sides were 
the marks of streams of old. Broad oaks bend around 
with their moss : the thick birch waves its green head. 
Half-hid, in her shady grove, Ros-crana raised the song. 
Her white hands rose on the harp. I beheld her blue- 
rolling eyes. She was like a spirit i of heaven half- 
folded in the skirt of a clou^. 

h Cairbar, the son of, was afterwards king of Ireland. 
His reign was short. He was succeeded by his son Artho, the fatlier 
of that Cormac who was murdered by CairlMr, the son of torbai- 
du.hul. Cairbar, the son of Cormac, long after his son Artho was 
grown to man's estate, bad, by his wife Bcltanno, another son, whose 
r.air e was Ferard-artho He was the only one remaining of the race 
of Conar the first king of Ireland, when Fingal's expedition against 
C a rbar the son of Botbar-iiuthul happened. See more of Ferard 
tho in the eighth book. 

i Tlie attitude of F.oscrana is aptly illustrated by this simile ; for 
the ideas of thote times concerning the spirits of tlie deceased, were 
not so gloomy and disagreeable as tliose of succeeding ages. The 
spirits of women, it was supposed, retained that beauty which they 
possessed while living, and transported themselves, from place t 
place, with that gliding wotion, which ascribes to the cods. 
Tlie descriptions which poets, less ancient than Ossian, have left u 
of those beautiful figures, that appealed sometimes on the hills, ar 
elegant and plcturesqiie. 'J hey compare them to the ' rain-bow on 
streams ;' or the ' gliding of sun-beams on the hills.' 

A chief who lived three centuries ago, returning, from the war, un- 
derstood that his wife or mistress was dead The bard introduces 
^im speaking the following soliloquy, when he came within sight of 
the place where he had left her, at his departure. 

" My soul darkens in sorrow. I behold not the smoke of my hall. 
No grey dog bounds at my streams. Silence dwells in the valley of 

" Is that a rain-bo\v on Crunath > It flics : and the sky is dark, 
ilgaia, tljou inGvest,brght on tt,wb>ath,thou sun-beam clothed in a, 

Book IV. AX LPIC POEM. 151 

" Three da^"^ we feasted at Mul-Iena ; she rose 
bright amidst my troubled soul. Cormac beheld nie 
dark. He gave die white -bi>somed maid. Slie came 
with bending eye, amidst the wandering of her heavy 
locks. She came. S'j-.iight die l)attle roared. Colc-ul- 
la rushed ; I seized my spear. My sword rose with 
ray people, against the ridgy foe. Ainecma tied. 
Colc-ulla fell. Fingal returned with fame. 

" He is renowned, O Fdlan, who fights, in the 
strength of his people. The bard pursues his steps, 
through the land of the foe. Bat he who fights alone, 
few are his deeds to odier times. He shines to-day a 
mighty light. To-morrow, he in low. One song contam^ 
his iame. His name is on one dark field. He is forgot^ 
but where his tomb sends for':h the tufts of grass." 

Such were the words of Fingal, on Mora of the roes. 
Three bards, from the rock ofCormul, poured down the 
pleasant song. Sleep descended, in the sound, on the 
broad-skirt^ host. Carril returned, with the bards,froin 
the tombofDun-lora's king. The voice oi: morning shall 
not come, to the dusky bed of the hero. >'o more shalt 
thou hear the tread cf roes, around thy narrov/ house. 

As roll the troubled clouds, round a meteor ot night, 
when they brighten their sides v/ith its light, along the 
heaving sea : so gathered Erin, around the gleaming 
form of Atha's king. He, tail in the midst, careless 
lifts, at times, his spear : as swells or falls the sound of 
Fonar's distant harp. Nearly him leaned, against a rock, 

shower! Ha! is it she, my love: her gliding course on the bosom 

In succeeding times the beauty of Ros-crana passed into a proverb ; 
and the highest compliinent that could be I'aid to a ivomao, was to 
compare her person with the daughter of Cormac. 
'S tu fein an Ros-crana. 
Siol Chormaec na n'ioma Ian. 

k In order to illustrate thi^ p.iss.ijjc, I bhall give, here, the history 
on wliich it is founded, as I have gat hered it from other poems. The 
nation of the Firbolg, who inhabited the South of Ireiand, L-eiog ori- 
giiuUy descended from the Belgae, who possessed the south aiid 
south-west coast of Eritair;, kt^t I'p, for many ages, an amicable qor- 

152 temora: Book IV. 

Sul-malla i of blue eyes, the white bosomed daughter of 
Con-mor, king of Inis-huna. To liis aid came biue- 
shielded Cathmor, and rolled his foes away. Sul-malla 
beheld him stately in tlie hall of feaFt? ; nor careless 
rolled the eyes of Cathmor on the long-hairod maid. 

The diird day arose, and Fithii m came from Erin of 
the streams. He told of the lifting up of the shield a. 

respnndence with their mother country ; and sent aid to the British 
Belg32, when they were pressed by the Romans or other new comers 
from the continent. Con tuor king of Inis-hima, (that part of South 
Britain which is over against the Irish coast) being attacked^ by what 
enemy is not mcntioued, sent for aid to Cairbar, lord of Atha, the 
mij.-t potent chief of the Firbolg. Cairbar dispatched his brother 
Cathmor to tlie assistance of Con-mor. Cathmor, after various vi- 
cissitudes of fortune, put an end to tlie war,by the total defeat of the 
enemies of Iniis huna, and returned in triumph to the residence of 
Con-mor. Tl.eSre, at a feast, Sul-malla, the daughter of Con-mar, 
fell desperately ia love with Cathmor, who, before her pasiioo was 
disclosed, was recalled to Ireland, by his brother Cair!)ar, upon the 
news of the intended expedition of Fingal, to re-establish the family 
of Conar on the Irish throne. The wind being contrary, Cathmor 
remained, for tliree days, in a neighbouring bay, during which time 
tul malla disguised licrselfin the habit of a young warrior, and came 
to ort'er him her service in the war. Cathmor accepted of the pro- 
posal, sailed to IreUnd, and arrived in Ulster a few days before the 
death of Cairbar. 

1 Sul-malla, * slowly rolling eyes.' Ca<jn-mor, • mild and tall. 
Iris-huna, • green island.' 

m Fithii, 'an inferior bard.' It may either be taken here for 
Utic yiroper name of a man, or in the literal sense, as the bards were 
the heralds and messengers of thoe^e times. Cathmor, it is probable, 
was absent, when the rebcHion of liis brother Cairbar, and tlie assas- 
sination of Cormac king of Ireland happened. T!ie traditions, which 
are handed down with the poem, say that Cathmor and hiifoUoivera 
had only arrived from Inishuna, three days before the death of Cair- 
bar, which sufficiently clears his character from any imputation of 
being concerned in the conspiracy with his brother. 

n The ceremony which was used by Fingal, when he prepared 
for an expedition, is related by Ossian, in o«e of his lesser poems. A 
bard, at miUrught, went to the hall, when the tribes feasted upon so- 
lemn occasions, raised the war song, and thrice called the spirits itf 
their deceased ancestors, to come, on their clouds, and behold the 
actions of tlieir children. He then fixed the shield of Trenmor, on 
a tree 0:1 the rock of Selma, striking it, at times, with the blujat end 

Book TV. AN CPIC POFM. 153 

[ on Morven, and the danger of red-haired Cairbar. 
Catlimor raised the sail at Chiba ; but the winds were 
in ofher lands. Three days he remained on the coast, 
and turned his eyes on Con-nior's halls. He remember- 
ed the daughter of strangers, and his sigh arose. Now 
when the winds awaked the wave, from the hill came 
a youth in arms ; to lilt the sword with Cathmor in 
his echoing field. It was the white-armed Sul-malla : 
secret she dwelt beneath her helmet. Her steps werg 
in the path of the king ; on him her blue eyes rolled 
•with joy, when he lay by his roaring streams. Bat 
Cathmor thought, duit on Luraon, she still pursued the 
roes : or fair on a rock, stretched her white hand to the 
wind; to feel its course from lanis-fail the green dwell- 
ing of her love. He had promised to return, with his 
white-bosomed sails. The maid is near diee, king of 
Atha, leaiii.-'^ on her rock. 

The tall forms of the chiefs stood around : all but 
dark-browed Foldath «. He stood beneath a distant 
tree, rolled into his haughty soul. His bushy hair whis- 
tles in v.ind. Attimes, bursts the hum of a song. He 
struck the tree, at length, in wrath ; and rushed before 
the king. Cairn and stately, to the beam of the oak, 
arose the form of yoimg Hidalla. His hair falls round 
his blushing cheek, in wreaths of waving light. Soft; 

of a spear, and singing the war song between. Thus he dtd, for 
three successive nights, and in the mean time, messengers were dis- 
patched to convene the tribes; or, as Ossian expresses it, ' to call 
them from all their streams.' This phrase alludes to the situation 
of the residences of the dans, which were qeiTtially fixed in valleys, 
where the torrents of the neighbouring mountains were collected in- 
to one body, and became large streams or rivers. The lifting up of 
the shie'.d, was the phrase for bejjinning a war, 

o The surly attitude of Foldajh is a proper preamble to his after 
behaviour. Chaffed witb the disappointment of the victory which 
he promised himself, he becomes passionate and overbearing The 
quarrel which succeeds betv^fcen him and Malthos was, ne doijbt, in- 
trodHced by the poet, to raise the character of Cathmor, whose su- 
perior worth shines forth, in Ids masly manner of ending the iiffit- 
ence bct*?ecn the chiefs. 

153 temora: Book IV^ 

Was his voice in Clonrar, in the valley of his fathers; 
when he touched tlie harp, in the hall, near his roaring 

" Iviag of Erin," said the youth, " now is the time 
offcasts. Bid the voice of bards arise, and roll the 
night away. The soul returns, from song, more ter- 
rible to war. Darkness settles on Innis-fall ; from hUl 
to hill bend the skirted clouds. Far and grey, on the 
heath, the dreadful strides of ghosts are seen : the ghosts 
of tiiose who fell bend forward to their song. Bid thou 
the harps to rise, and brighten the dead on their wan- 
dering blasts." 

" Be all the dead forgot," said Foldath's bursting 
wrath. " Did not I fail in the field, and shall I hear 
the song ? Yet was not my course harmless in battle : 
blood was a stream round my steps. But the feeble 
were behind me, and the foe has escaped ray sword. 

In Clon-ra's vale touch thou the harp ; let Dura an- 
sv/er to diy voice ; while some maid looks, from the 
wood, on thy long yellow locks. Fly from Lubar's 
echoing plain ; it is the field of heroes." 

" King cf Temora «," Malthos said, " it is thine to 
lead in war. Thou art a fire to our eyes on the dark- 
brown field. Like a blast thou hast passed over hosts, 
and laid them, low in blood; but vvho has heafd thy 
words retiurniag from the field!' The wrathfrii delight 
in death ; tlieir remembrance rests on the wounds of 
their spear. Strife is folded in their thoughts : their 
words are ever heard. Thy course, chief of Moraa, 
was like a troubled stream. The dead were rolled on 
thy path ; but others also lift the spear. We were net 
feeble beliind thee, but the foe was strong." 

Tlie king beheld tlie rising rage, and bending for- 
ward of either chief: for half unsheathed they held 
their swords, and rolled their silent eyes. Now would 

p Claonrath, ' winding field.' The tii are seMom pronounced 
audibly in the Galic language. 

q This speech of Malthos is, throughout, a severe repjrimand t(> 
the fahbtering bcluvicur of Faldath. 

BooklV. AN EPIC POLM. 155 

tliey have mixed in horrid fray, had not the wrath of 
C.uhmor barced. lie drew his sword : it gleamed 
through night, to the high.flaming oak. " Sons of 
- pride," said the king, " allay your swelling souls. Re- 
tire in night. Why should my rage arise ? Should I 
contend witli both in arms ? It is no time for strife. 
Retire, ye clouds at my feast. Awake my soul no 

They sunk from the king on either side ; like »■ two 
columns of morning mist, when the sim rises, between 
them, on his glittering rocks. Dark rs their railing on 
eitlier side ; eaah towards its reedy pool. 

Silent sat the chiefs at the fsast. They looked, at 
times, on Atha's king, where he strode, on his rock, 
amidst his settling soul. The host lay, at length, on 
the field : sleep descended on Moi-lcna. The voice of 
Fonar, rose alone, beneath his distant tree. It rose in 
the praise of Cathraor son of Larthon ' vi Lumon. But 
Cathmor did not liear his praise. Ke lay at the roar of 
a stream. The rusdiog breeze of night flew over his 
wliistling locks. 

r The poet could scarce find, in s!l nntuve, a comparison so fa- 
voiiraWe as this, to the superiority of over his two cliicfs. 
I sliall iliustrate this }),iss;ige with another from a fraj;ment of an an- 
cirnt poem, jiut nov.' in my hamls. " As the sun is above the va- 
pours, which his ^eare•.» have raised ; so is the soul of die king above 
the spin of fear. They roll ^lavk below him, he rejoice? in the robe 
of his beams. But v.-!<en feeble deeds wander on the sor.l of the 
king, he is a darkened sun rolled along the sky ; the valley is sad be- 
low : flowers bene.ith the drops of the night." 

t, 'r.ea wave.' the name of that chief of the colony of 
the Firbolg, which first migip.teJ into Ireland. Larthon's first set- 
tlement in thaft country, is rt'lated in tlie seventh book. He vvasthe 
ancestor of€athmor; and is here called I.artlion of Lumon, from a 
high hill of that name in Inis-huna, tl>e ancient seat of the Firbolg. 
The pofft preserves thf cliaracfer of Cathmor throughout. He had 
rrcntioned, in the first book, the aversion of that chief to praise, and 
■we find him he^ lying at the side of a stream, that the noise of it 
mfght drown'the voice of Fonar, wlio, according to the custom of th« 
times, sung hi- eulogium in his evening sen?,. Though other chiefs^ 
as v.-ell as Catlitnor, ini;;!;: be .-^.vvrie to hear tjieir own praise, we 

156 temora: Book IV. ■ 

Cairbar oime to his dreams, half seen from his low- 
hung cloud. Joy rose darklv in his face : he had 
heai d the song of Carril ^ A blast sustained his dark- 
skirted cloud ; which he seized in the bosom of night, 
as he rose, with his fame tovvards his airy halls. Half- 
mixed with the noise of the stream, he poured his fee- 
Ule words. 

" Joy met the soul of Cathmor: his voice Was heard 
on Moi-lena. The bard gave his song to Cairbar: he 
travels on the wind. My form is in my father's hall, 
like the gliding of a terrible light, which v/inds through 
the desert, in a stormy night. No bard shall be want- 
ing at at thy tomb, v/hen thou art lowly laid. The sons 
of song love the valiant. Cathmor, thy name is a plea- 
sant gale. The mournful sounds arise ! On Lubar's 
field there is a voice ! Louder still, ye shadowy ghosts ! 
the dead were full of lame. Shrilly swells the feeble 
sound. The i cughcr blast alone is heard ! Ah, soon is 
Cathmor low !" Rolled into himself he flew, wide on 
the bosom of his blast. The old oak felt his departure, 
and shook its whistling head. The king started from 
rest, and took his deathful spear. He hfts his eyes a- 
round. He sees but dark-skirted night. 

find it to be the un-vcrspl policy of tlie times, to alJow the bnrds to 
be as extravagant as they pleased in their encoir.iiims on the leaders 
ofavm:ef,in the persence of their {ieople. 1 he vulgar, who had no 
great ability to judge for tl-.em.'-elve'!, received the character of their 
princes entirely upon the faith of the bards. 

Carril, the son of Kinfena, by the order of Ossian, sung the fu- 
neral elegy at the tomb of Cai'bar. See the second book, coward* 
the end. In all the poems of 0^.■;.^!l, .he visits of ghosts to l heir Ly- 
ing friends, are shore, and their Lnguage obscure ; botli which clr- 
ciunstances tend to throw a solemn gloom on those supernatural 
scents. Towards the latter end of the speech of the ghost of Cair- 
bar, he foretels the death cf Cathmor, by enunicrating those signals 
•which, according to the opinion of the times, preceded the death of 
a person renowned. It w^s thought that the gliosts of the deceased 
bards sung, for three nights preceding the death (near the place 
where his tomb was to be rai-ed, round an unsubstantial figure wljick 
reprcseated tlie body of the peison who w.ik to die. 

E^oklV. AN Erie POEM. 157 

" It" was tlic voice of the king ; but now his form is 
fs:ViC. Unmiirk'd is your path in the nir, yc chiidren of 
the night. Often, like a rejected beam, arc ye seen in 
the desert wild ; but ye retire in your blasts before our 
steps approach. Go then, ye feeble race ! knowledge 
with you there is none. Your joys are weak, and like 
the dreams of our rest, or the light-winged thought 
that flics across the soul. Shall Cathmor soon be low ? 
Darkly laid in his narrow house ? Where no reorning 
conies with her half -opened eyes? Away, thou shade I 
To Hght is mine ! All further thought away ! I rush 
forth, on eagle's wings, to seize my beam of fame. In 
tlie lonely vale of streams, abides the little ^ souJ. Years 
roil on, seasons return, but he is still unknown. In a 

u The soliloquy of Cat'imor aHcunds with that magnnniir.ity and 
love of f.i:iie which constitute the hero. Though staggered at first 
vith the predictions of Cairbar's ghost, he soon comforts hi:Tiself 
with tlie agreeable prospect of his future renown : and like Achillts, 
prefers a short and glorious life, to an obscure length of years in re- 
tirement and ease. 

V From this passage we may learn in wRat extreme contempt an 
irdolent and unwarlike life was held in those days of heroism. Wliat- 
cvev a pl'.ilosopher may say in praise of quiet and retirement, 1 am tar 
from thir-.kmg, but they weaken and debase the human mind. When 
the facilities of the soul are not exerted, they lose their vigour, ni'd 
low and circumscribed notions take th.e place of noble and enlarged 
ideas. Action, on the contrary, and llie vicissitudes of fortune which 
attend it, call forth, by turns, all the powers of the mind, aud, by 
exercising, strengthen them Hence it is, tliat in great and opulent 
stares, when pr;>perty and uidotencc are secured to individuals, vvs 
seldom meet with that strength of mind which is so common in a 
nation not far advanced in civilizatic;'. It iS a curious, but just ob- 
servation, that great kingdoms seldom produce great characters, 
which must be altogether attributed to that indolence and dissipation, 
which are the inseparable companions of too much property and se- 
curity. Rome, it is certain , had more real great men Tvithin it, when 
iC3 power was confined within the narrow bounds of Latium, than 
when its dominion extended over all the known world: and on.e 
petty state of the Saxon heptarchy had, perhaps, as much genuine 
spirit in it, as the two British kingdoms united. As a state, we arc 
ir.uch more powerful than our anceb'.c:-;, bu: we would lo3cbycoii»- 
p.iringindividaah with th?--n. 

Vol.H. O 


158 temora: Book IV 

blast comes cloudy death, and lays his grey head low 
His ghost is rolled on the vapour of the fenny field 
Its course is never on hills, or rrrossy vales of wind. Sc 
shall not Cathmor depart. No boy in the field was he,, 
who only marks the bed of roes upon the echoing hills. 
My issuing forth was with kings, and my joy in dread- 
ful plains : where broken hosts are rolled av/ay, like 
seas before the wind." 

So spoke the king of Alnecma, brightening In his 
rising soul : valour, like a pleasant flame, is gleaming 
within his breast. Stately is his stride on the heath 
the bejum of the east is poured around. He saw his grey 
host on the field, wide-spreading th^ir ridges in light. 
He rejoiced like a spirit of heaven, whose steps come 
forth on his seas, when he beholds them peaceful round, 
and all the winds are laid. But soon he awakes the 
waves, and rolls them large to some echoing coast. 

On the rushy bank of a stream, slept the daughter oi 
Inis-huna. The helmet had fallen from her head. Her 
dreams were in the land of her fathers. There morn- 
ing was on the field : grey streams leapt down from 
llie rocks ; the breezes, in shadowy waves, fly over the 
rushy fields. There is the sound that prepares for the 
chase ; and the moving of warriors from the hall. But 
tail above the rest is the hero of streamy Atha : he bends 
his eye of love on Sul-malla, From his stately steps, she 
turns, with pride, A^er liice away, and careless bends 
the bow. 

Such v/erc tlie dreams of tlie maid when Atha's wav- 
rior came. He sav/ her fair face before him, in the r/i:d,+ 
of her Vv^andering locks. He knew the maid of I.u r> ,- . . 
What should Cathmor do? His sigh arose: his t : i ; 
came down. But straight he turned away. *' This is 
n« time, king of Atha, to wake thy secret soul. The 
battle is rolled before thee, like a troubled stream." 

He struck that warning boss w, wherein dwelt the 

w In order to urderatand tin? passage, it is necessary to look to 
the c'escjiprior. of Cat! mox's 1 ie'id vshicli thf pout fus g'.veR us u 

''' 300k IV. AM EPIC POEM. 159 

'« roice of v.'.ir. Erin rose arourvd him, like the soun'd o* 
<i- eagle-wings. SuI-maJIa started from sleep, in her dis' 
5( ordered locks. She seized the hehiiet fnmi e;uth, and 
e trembled in her place. "Why should they know in 
Is Erin oFthc daughter of Inis-huna? For she remember- 
i ed tiic race of kings, and the pride of her soul arose. 
rier steps are behiridarock, by theblue winding stream 't 
of a vale, where dwelt the d;irk brown hind, ere yet 
the war arose. Thither came the voice of Cathm.or 
at times, to Sul-malla's ear. Her soul is darkly sad ; 
she pours her words on wind. 

" The dreamiS of Inis-huna departed : they are roll- 
ed away from my soul. I hear not the chase in my 
land. I am concealed in the skirts of war. I look forth 
trom mv cloud, but no beam appears to light my path. 
I behold my warrior low ; for the broad-shielded king 
is near ; he that overcomes in danger ; Fingal of the 
spears. Spirit of departed Con-mor, arc thy steps on 
the bosom of winds ? Comsst thou, at times, to other 
lands, father of sad Sul-i]ialla ? Thou dost com.e, for I 
have heard thy voice at night : while yet I rose on the 
wave to streamy Inh-fiil. The ghost of fathers, they 
say >', can seize the soul of their race, v/hile they be- 

the ieventh book. This; %hlcld had seven principal bosses, tlie sound 
of each of which, conveyed a particular order from the king to Iiis 
tribes. The sound of one of them, as li^re, was the signal for the 
army to assemble. 

X This was not the valley of Lena to which Sul-mana afterwards 

y Con mor, the father of Sul-malla, was killed in that war, from 
wliich Cathmor de-livered Inii-huiia. Lormar his son succeeded Con- 
mor. It was the opinion of the times, Vihen a person was reduced 
to a pitch of misery, which could admit of no aikviation, that the 
ghosts cf his ancestors called his soul away. Tins supernatural kind 
of death was called tlie voice of the dead ; and is believed by the su- 
perstitious vulgar to this day. 

There is no people in the world, perhaps, who gave more univer- 
sal credit to apparitions, and the visits of the ghosts of the deceased 
to their friends, than the common HigWandcrs. This Is to be attri- 
buted as much, at least, to the situation of the country they possess, 
do to that credulous disposition which distinguislies an unenlightened, 

160 tep^ora: Book IVy 

hold them lonely in the midst of wo. Call me, my 
flitlitr, when the king is low on earth j for then I shall 
be lonely in the midst of wo." 

penjile. As their business was feeding of cattle, in dark and 
fxter.sive deserts, so their journeys l^y over wide and untVe- 
cjucnied heatlis, where often they were obliged to sleep in the open 
air, aijiidst the whistling of winds and the roar of water falls. 
The gloominess of the scenes around them was apt to beget 
that melancholy disposition of mind, wliich most readily re- 
ceives impressions of the extraordinary and supernatural kind. 
1 ailing asleep in this gloomy mood, and their dream)i being dis-tuib- 
ed by the noise of the elements around, it is no matter of wonder, 
tliat they thoug"t they heard the voice of the dead. This voice of 
the dead, however, was, perhaps, no more than a shriller whistle of 
the wmdsin an old tree, or in the chinks of a neighbouring rock. 
It is to this cause I ascribe those many and improbable tales of ghosts, 
whicii we meet with io the Highlands: for in other respects, we da 
iKit find tha.t the Highlanders are more criduljus than their ncii^K- 



Oesian, after a short address to the harp of Cona, describes thrar- 
ranijcment of both armies on either side of the river Lubar, Fin- 
gal give? the commantl to Fi'lan: but, at tlie same time, orders 
Gaul, thei^oa of Morni, who had been woundtd in the hatid in the 
preceding battle, to ast.sor ' ira v\'ith ibis counsel, the army of the 
rirhr ig is commaned by i- ojdath. The general on.set is described. 
The great actions of Fiilan. He kill«.Rot!>mar and Culniin. hut 
wlien Fiilan conquers in one wing, Foidath presses heard en the c» i 
ther. He wounds Dermid, the son nf Duthno, and puts the whole 
wins to tlight. Permid deliberates with himself, and, at hst, re- 
sulvas to put a stop to the progre«s of Foldath, by engaging him 
in single combat. When the two chiefs were approachnig towards 
one another, Fiilan camesuddenh to the relief of Dermid; engag- 
ed Foldath, and kiiled him. The behaviour of Malthos towards 
the fallen Foldath. Fiilan p'.its the whole army of the Firboig to 
flight. The book closes with an address to Clatho, the mother of 
that hero. 


THOU dweller between the shields that hang on high 
in Ossian* s hall ! descend from thy place, O harp, 
and let me hear thy voice ! Son of Alpin,. strike the 
string-; tliou must awake the soul of the bard. The 
murmur of Lora's ^ stream has rolled die tale away. 
I stand in the cloud of years : few are its openings to- 
wards the past ; and when the vision comes, it is but 
dim and dark. I hear thee, harp of Cona ; my sonl 
returns, like a breeze, which the sun brings back to the 
vale, where dwelt the lazy mist. 

Lubar a is bright before me, in the windings of its 

z Lora is often mentioned ; it w^s a small and rapid stream in the 
reighibourhood of Selma. There is no vestige of this name now re- 
maining ; though i"- sppea rs from a very old song, which the transla- 
tor has seen, that one of the small rivers on the north-west coast was 
called Lora some cenfaries ago. 

a From several pas.«ages in the poem, we m.ay form a distinct idea 

of the scenic of the action ofTemora. At a small distance from on* 

anotjier rose the hWs of Mora and I.ona : the f.Tst possessed byJingal, 

O 3 

162 temora: BockY^., 

vale. On either side, on their hills, rise the tall forms i 
of" the kings ; their people are poured around them, , 
bending forward to their words ; as if tlieir fathers 
spoke descending from their winds. But the kings were 
like two rocks in the midst, each with its dark head of 
pines, when they are seen in the desert, above low-sail- , 
ing mist. High on the face are streams, which spread 
their foam on blasts. 

Beneath the voice of Cathmor poured Erin, like the 
sound of flame. Wide they came down to Lubar ; 
before them is the stride of Foldath. But Cathmor re- 
tired to his hill, beneath his bending oaks. The tum^ 
bling of a stream is near the king : he lifts, at times, 
his gleaming spear. It was a flame to his people, in 
the midst of war. Near him stood the daughter of 
Con-mor, leaning on her rock. She did not rejoice 
over the strife : her soul delighted not in blood. A 
valley '■! spreads green behind the hill, with its three blue 
streams. The sun is there in silence : and the dun 
mountain-roes come down. On th-ese are turned the 
eyes of Inis-huna's white-bosomed maid. 

Fingal beheld, on higli, the son of Borbar-duthul : he 
saw the deep rolling of Erin, on the darkened plain, 
lie struck that warning boss, which bids the people o- 

the fecond by the army of Cathmor. Through the intermediate 
plain ran the Miiall rivci i.ubar, on the banks of which 4H the battles 
■were fought, excepting between Cairbar and Oscar, related in 
the first book. This last mentioned engagement happened to the 
north of the hill of Mora, of which Fingal took possession, after the ar- 
my of Cairbar fell backtotlir;t of Cathmor. At some distance, but 
within bight of Mora towards the west, Lubarissued from the moun- 
tain of Crommal, and after a >hort course tlircugh the pl.iin of Moi- 
lena, discharged itself into the sea near the field of battle. Behind 
the mountain of Crommal ran the smail stream cf Levath, on the 
b.mks of which Fcrard-archo, the son cf Cairbar, the only person re- 
maining of the race of Conar, lived concealed in a cave, during the u- 

b It was to this valley £ul-malla retired, during the last and deci- 
sive battle between Fingal and Cathmor. It is described in the se- 
venth bock, where it:5 cal'cd the va:c o5Lcna,and thersiiJenvcOfa 

(kV. AN FPIC POEM. 163 

; when he sends his chiefs before them, to the field 
mown. Wide rose their spe.irs to the sun ; their e- 

juing sliields repiy around. Fear, hke a vapour, did 
not wind among the host : For he, the king, was near, 
the strength of streamy Morven. Gladness brightened 
the hero ; we heard his words of joy. 

" Like the coming forth of winds, is the sound of 
Morvcn's sons ! They are mountain-waters, determin- 
ed in their course. Hence is Fingal renowned, and 
his name in other lands. He was not a lonely beam in 
danger; foryourstepswerealwaysnear. But never was 
I a dreadtul form in your presence darkened into UTath, 
My voice was no thunder to your ears : mine eyes sent 
forth no death. When the haughty appeared, I beheld 
them not. They were forgot at my feasts : like mist 
they melted away. A voung beam is before you : few 
are his paths to war. They arc few ; but he is valiant j. 
defend my dark-haired son. Bring him back with joy : 
Hereafter he may stand aione. His form is like his fa- 
thers ; his soul is a flame of their fire. Son of car-borne 
Morni, move behind tlie son of Clatho : let thy voice 
reach his ear, from the skirts of war. Not unobserved 
rolls battle, before thee, breaker of the shields." 

Thekingstrode, atonce,awaytoCormul'sloftvrock, 
As, slow, I lifted my steps behind, came forward the 
strength of Gaul. His shield hung loose on its thong ; 
he spoke, in haste, to Ossian. " Bind c, son of Fingal, 
this shield, bind it high to the side of Gaul. The foe 
may behqld it, and think I lift the spear. If I shall fall, 
let ray tomb be hid in the field ; for fall I must, without 
my fame : mine arm cannot lift the steel. Let not Evir- 
choma hear it, to blush between her locks. Fillan, the 
mighty behold us ! let us not forget the strife. Why 
should they come, from their hills, to aid our flying 
field :" 

c Iris nece«sary to remember, that Caul was wounded; which 
occasions liis requiring the aisistunce cf Ossiaa to bind hu sluvild OA 
Ilia 5i4c. 

164 TFMORA: . BookV. 

He strode onward, with die sound of his shield. My 
voice pursued him, as he went. " Can the son of Mor- 
ni fdi without his fame in Erin ? But the deeds of the 
mighty forsake their souls of fire. Tiiey rush careless 
over the feldsof renown : their words are never heard.'* 
I rejoiced over the steps of the chief: I str.cde to the 
rock of the king, where he sat in his wandering locks, 
amidst the mountain-wind. 

In two dark ridges bend the hosts towards each o- 
thcr, at LubTir. Here Foldath rose, a pillar of darkness : 
tliere brightened the youth of Fillan. Each with his 
spear in the stream, sent forth the voice of war. Gaul 
struck the shield of Morven : at once they plunge in 
battle. Steel iX)ured its gleam on steel : like the fail of 
streams shone the field, when thfiy mix their foam toge- 
ther, from two diu-k-browed rocks. Behold he, 
the son of fame : he lays the people low ! Deaths sit on 
blasts around him ! Warriors strew thy paths, O Fillan ! 

Kothnu^r '', the shield of warriors, stood between two 
clunky rocks. Tv/o oaks which winds had bent from 
high, spread their branches on either side. He rolls his 
darkening eyes on Fillan, and silent, shades his friends. 
Fingal sawtfie approachingf pht ; and all his soul arose. 
But as the stone of Lodae falls, shook, at once, from 

d RptV-n-sr, ' tlie sound of the sea before a f.torm"' Drumannrd, 
' high ridge.' Culmin, ' scfi-hairfd.' CuUallJn, ' beautiful 1. cks ' 
Strutha, ' streamy river* ' 

e Ey the .•-toneof Loda, as I have remarlced in my notes on some 
other poeitis of Ossian, is meant a place of worship among the Scan- 
dinavians. Ossian, in hie many exreditions to Orkney and Scandi- 
i'avia,bec*meac<|uainted with some ofthe rites of the religionwhich 
prevailed in those countries;, and frequently alludes to them in his po- 
ems. There are some ruins, and circular pales of stone* remaining 
still in Orkney, and tliei'-land.« of Shetland, which retain to this day, 
the name of Loda, crl oden. ThC)-seem to have differed materially, 
in their construction, fiom those druidical monuments which retT)f,ia 
Jn Britain, and tlic western isles. The places of worship amoi'g the 
ft ardiuavi^ins were originally rude and unadorned. In after ages, 
•plicn they opened a communication with otliernatrors, they adopted 
their marners, and built temples. That at Upsal in Sweden, was a- 
iiiazin<i!y rich a]fd irai^nif.cvut. Hsquin, of Norway, built one near 

Book V. AM EPIC POEM. 165 

rocking Druman-ard, when spirits heave the earth in 
their wrath ; so fell blue-shielded Rothniar. 

Near are the steps of Culniin ; die youth came, biUbt- 
jng into tears. Wratiiful he cut the wind, ere yet he 
mixed his strokes with Fiilan. He had tirst bent the 
bow with Rothmar, at the rock of his own blue streams. 
There they had marked the place cf the roe, as the sun- 
beam flew over the fern. Why, son of Cul-allin, dost 
thou rush on that beamf of light ? It is a fire that con- 
sumes. Youtii of Strutha retire. Your fathers v/ere 
not equal, in the glittering strife of the field. 

The mother of Culmin remains in the hall ; she looks 
forth on blue-rolling Strutha. A whirlv/ind rises on 
the stream, dark-eddying round the ghost of her son. 
His dogs g are howling in their place : his shield is 
bloody in the hall. '*^Art tliou fallen, my fair-haired 
son, in Erin's dismal war r" 

As a roe, pierced in secret, lies panting, by her wont- 
ed streams, the hunter looks over her feet of wind, and 
remembers her stately bounding before,so lay the son of 

Drontlicim, little inferior to the former; and it went always under 
the name of Loden. — Mallet, introduction a I'liistoire de Danneuiarc. 

f The poet, metaphorically, calls FillaJi a beam of light. Culniin, 
fticntioned here, was the son of Clonmar, chief nf Strutha, by the 
beautiful Cul-allin. Slie was so remai kahle for the beauty of her per- 
son that she ib introducer!, frequently in the shnilies and allusions of 
ancient poetry. ♦' Mar Chu'aluin Strutha nan sian ;" is a simile of 
t>ssian in auother poem ; i. e. Lovely as Cul-allin of Strutha of the 

g Dogs were thought to be sensible of the death of their master, let 
it happen at ever so great a distance. It was also the opinion of the 
time.';, that the arms wl-ich warriors left at Lome became bloody, 
when they themselves feUin battle. It w;i:> from those signs that 
Cul-allin is supposed to understand that iier son is killed ; in which 
she is confirmed by the appearance of liis ghost. Her sudden and 
short exclamation, on the occasion, is more affecting than if she had 
extended lier coiTipIaints to a greater length. The attitude of the fal- 
len youth, and Kiilan's refections over him, are natural and judici- 
ous, and come forcibly bark on the mind wh.en we consider tiiat the 
supposed Situation of the father of Culmin, was »o similar to that of 
ilngal, after the death of Fiilan himself. 

16G temora: Book V. 

Cul-allin, benCcnth the eye of Fillan. His hair is roll- 
ed in a little stream : his blood wandered on his shield. 
S':ill his hand held the sword, that failed him in the day 
of his danger. " Thou art fallen," said Fiilan, " ere yet 
thy tame was heard. Thy father sent thee to war: and 
he expects to hear thy deed?. He is grey, perhaps, at 
his streams, turning his dim eyes towards Moi-lena. But 
thou shalt not return, with the spoil of the fcJlen fee." 

Fillan poured the iiight of Erin before him, over the 
echoing heath. But, man on man, fell Morven, before 
the dark-red rage of Foldath ; for, far on die field, he 
poured the roar of half his tribes. Dermid stood be^ 
fore him i-n wrath : the sons of Cona gather round. 
But Ills shield is cleft by Foldath, and his people pour- 
ed over the heath. 

Then said the foe, ii\h;s pride, " They have fled, and 
my fame begins. Go, Malthos, and bid the king to 
guard the dark-rolling of ocean ; that Fingal may not 
escape from my sword. He must lie on earth. Beside 
some fen shall his tomb be seen. It shall rise without a 
song. His ghost shall hover in mist over the reedy 

jSlalthos heard, with darkening doubt ; he rolled his 
silent eyes. He knew the pride of Foldath, and looked 
up to the king on his hill ; then, darkly turning, he 
plunged his sword in war. 

In Clono's'' narroAv vale, where bend two trees above 

h This valley had its name from Clono, son of Leihmal of Lora, 

rrc of the ancestors of Dermid, the son of Duthno His history is 
thiisrelate-d in an o-ld poem. In the Jays of Conar the son of Tren- 
mor, the first kuig of Ireland, Clono passed over into that kingdom, 
fiom Caledonia, to aid Conar against the Firliolg. Being remarka- 
ble for the beauty of his person, he soon drew the attention of Snl- 
mJn, the young wife of an IrL^ih chief. She disclosed her passion, 
vbich was not properly returned by the Caledonian. '1 he lady sick- 
ened, through disappointment, and her love for Clono came to the 
ears of her husband Fired with jealousy, he vowed revenge. Clo- 
no, to avoid his rage, departed from Temora, in order to pass over 
imoScotiand; and treing benighted in the valleymeiuionvd heie. 

Book V. AM EPIC POEM. 1.77 

the streams, dark in his grief stood Duthno's silent son. 
The blood poured from his thigh : his shield lay bro- 
icen near. His^pear leaned against a stone. Why Der- 
hiid, why sosad? " I hear th-i roar of battle. My peo- 
ple are alone. My steps arc slow on the heath ; and no 
shield is mine. Siiall he then prevail ? It is then after 
Dcrmid is low ! I will call thee forth, O Foldath ! and 
Pxieet thee yet in fight." 

He took his spear with dreadful joy. The son of 
Morni came. " Stay, son of Dudmo, stay thy speed ; 
thy steps are marked v;idi blood. No bossy shield is_ 
tliine. Why shouldest thou fall unarmed ?" " King of 
Strumon, give thou thy shield. It has often rolled back 
the war. I shall stop the chief in his course. Son of 
Morni, dost thou behold tliat stone ? It lifts its grey 
head through grass. There dwells a chief of tlie race 
.of Dermid. Place me there in night." 

He slowly rose against the hill, and saw the troubled 
field. The gleaming ridges of the fight, disjoined and 
broken round. As distant fij-es, on heath by night, nov/ 

■he laid him down to sleep. "There, Lethmal descended in the 
dre.inii) of Cioiio : and told liiin that danger was near." 

Ghost of Lethinal. " Arise from thy bed of moss ; son of low-laid, 
Lethma'., ariie. The sound of the coming of foes descends along 
the wind. 

Clono. whose voice is that, like many streams, in the season of 
my rest > 

Ghost of Lethmal. Arise, theu dweller of the souls of the love- 
ly; son of Lethmal, arise. 

Clono. How dreiry is the night! The moon is darkened in the 
sky ; red are the paths cf ghast5, along its sullen face ? Green-skirt- 
ed mefcors set around. Dull is the roaring of streams, from the val- 
ley of diiTi forms. I hear thee, si)ii!t uf my father, on the eddying 
course of the wind: I hear thee, but thi>u bendest not forward 
thy tar.ff>rm from the skirts of night." 

As Ciono prepared to depart, the hus^iand of Suhnin cameup with 
his numerous attendants. Clono defended him,scif, but after a gal- 
lant resistance, he was overpowered and s'.aia. He was buried in r!ie 
place where he was killed, and tl e v.alley w:is called after his nams. 
Ecrmid, in his request to Gaul the »on of Morni, whicn immediate- 
ly follows this paragraph, aliases to tlie toml; of Clono, <»r.d hli o-.ta 
cojat?<tioa wirh that uiif ortutiatc chisi". 

163 TEMORA : Eook V^ 

seem as lost in smoke; then rearing their red streams on 
the hill, as blow or cease the winds : so met the mter- 
mittingwartheeyeofl^road-shieidedDermid. Through 
the h.ost are the strides of Foldath, like some dark sh;p 
on wintry waves, when it issues from between two 
isles, to sport on echoing seas. 

Dermid, with rage, beheld his course. He strove to 
rush along. But he failed in the midst of his steps ; 
jind the big tear came down. He sounded his father's 
horn ; and thrice struck his bossy shield. Ke called 
thrice the name of Foldath from his roaring tribes. 
FoldiLth, with joy, beheld the chief: he lifted high his 
bloody spear. As a rock is marked with stream?, that 
tell troubled down its side in a storm; so streaked with 
wandering blood is the dark form of Mom?. I'he host, 
on either side, withdrew, from the contending of kings, 
'i hey raised, at once, their gleaming points. Rushing 
came Fiilanof Moruth. Three paces back Foldath with- 
drew ; dazzled with that beam of light which came, as 
issuing from a cloud, to save the wounded hero. Grow- 
ing in his pride he stood, and called forth all his steel. 

As meet two broad-winged eagles, in their sound- 
ing stiife, on the winds ; so rushed the two chiefs, on 
IMoi-lena, into gloomy fight. By turns are the steps 
of the kinr*^ ' forward on their rocks ; for now the dus- 
ky war seems to descend on their swords. Cathmor 
feels the joy of v/arriors, on his mossy hill ; their joy 
in secret when dangers rise equal to their souls. His 
eye is not turned on Lubar, but on Moiven's dreadful 
king ; for he beheld him, on Mora, rising in his arms. 

Foldath k fell on his shield ; the spear of Fillan pierc- 

i Finpal and Cathmor. 

k The fali of Foldath, if we may believe tradition, was predirted 
to liiiri, before he had lefL his own couurry to join Cairbar, in his de- 
s'pns on the Iri^.h throne. He went to ti.e cave of Monia, to enquire 
of the s irits of his fathers concerning the success of theenterprise 
oi'' Cairbar. The rcspon.=!es of oracles dre always attedded wirh ob- 
sturity. and. liable to a double nieaninp; Foldath, therefore put s 
favouralleinterpretatica unthe prcUi^tionj uud purovievl his ddypt- 

Book V. AK EPIC P02a:. 16.') 

ed the king. Nor looked the youth on the fallen, but 
onward rolled the wai". The hundred voices of death 
arose. " Stay, son of Fingal, stay d:y speed. Behold- 
cst thou not that gleaming form, a dreadful sign of 
deatii ? Awalcen not the king of Alnecma. Return 
son of biue-e'^^d Cladio." 

Malthos ' saw Foldath low. He darkly stood above 
the king. Hatred was rolled from his soul. He seem- 
ed a rock in the des^.rt, on Vihose dark sides are tlie 
trickling of waters, when Uie slow-sailing mist has left 
it, and his trees are bhisted with winds. He spoke to 
the dying hero, about die narrow house. Whether 

cd plan of aggran^bing himself with the family of Atha. I siia'.I 
lierc, tvan>!ate the answer cf th.e ghosts of his ancestors, as it was " 
liaHtled down by tradition. Wliether tlic legend is really anciert, or 
iuveution of a later age, I shall not prt-tcnd to determine, tliougii 
from the i>lir,iseology, I sliould suspect the la-st. 

FOLDATH, addressing the spirits of his fathers. 
Dark, I stand in your presence; Fathers of FoUlath hear, thall 
ir.y srers pass over Atha, ta Ullin of the roes ? 
Thy stc:i= shall pass over Atha, to the gr^een dwelling of kings. 
There shall thy stature arise, over the fallen, like a pillar of tinmder 
clouds. 'I'l-.ere, ter»ible in darkness, slialt thou stand, til! the reflect- 
ed beana, or Cion-cath of Moruth, csme: Moruth, of raanyjitreasns, 

I that rcari, in distant lands." 

I , Clon-cath, or reflected beam, say my traditional authors, was tlie 
rame of the sword of Fillan : so that it was in the latent signilication 
of the word Clon-cath, that the deception lay. My principal reason 
for introducing this note, i;, that if this traditiwn i>i ec".»lly ancienc' 
with the poem, which, by the by, is doubtful, it sevvet. to show time 
the religion of the Firbolg differed from that of the Caledonians, as 

I we never find the latter enquiring of tlie spirits of their deceased an- 

1 The characters of Foldath and Malthos are well sustained. 
They were both dark and surly, but each in a ("iuerent way. Fol- 
dath was impetuous and cruel. Malthos itnb*iorn and incredulous-. 
Their attachment tc thr family of Atha was equal ; their bravery in 
battle the same. Foldath was vain and ostentat:ous : Malthos unin- 
dulgent, but generous. His bcbavioiir here, towards his enemy Fol- 
dath, shows, that a goo^ heart often lies concealed ui;der a gioymy 
and sullen character. 

vci. ir. 5 

TO temora: , Book V- • 

shall thy grey stone rise in Ulh'n ? cr in Moma'sm 
woody land, where the sun looks, in secret, on the blue 
streams of Dalrutho'"' ? There are the steps of thy 
daughter, blue-eyed Dardu-lena. 

" Reniemberest thou her," saidFoidathi ** because 
no son is mine ; no youth to roll the battle before him, 
in revenge of me ? JMalthos, I am revenged. I was 
not peaceful in tlie field. R;iise the toiTibs of those I 
have slain, around my narrow house. Often shall I 
forsake the blast, to rejoice aboA'e their graves ; when i 
behold them spread around, vwth their long-whistiing 

His soul rushed to the vales of Moma, and came to 
Dardu-lena's dreams, where she slept, by Dai-rutho's 
stream, returning from the chase of the hinds. Her 
bow is near die maid unstrung ; the breezes fold her 
long hair on her breasts. Clothed in the beauty of 
youth, the love of heroes lay.- Dark bending, from the 
skirts of the wood, her wounded father came. He ap- 
peared at times, then seemed as hid in mist. Burst- 
ing into tears she rose : she knew that the chief wa: 
low. To her came a beam from his soul v/hen folded 
in its storms. Thouwert the last of his race, blue -eyed 
Dardu-lena ! 

Wide-spreading over echoing Lnbar, the flight of 
Bolga is rolled along. Fillan hung forv/ard on their 
steps ; and strewed with dead the heath. Fingal re- 
joiced" over his son. Blue-shielded Cathmor rose. 

m Moma was the name'of a country in the south of Connaught, 
once famous for being the residence of an arch druid. Tbe cave of 
Moira was thought to he hihahited hy the spirits cf the chiefs of the 
1 irboli', and their posterity sent to enquire there, as to an oracle, 
concerninj; the ivsue of their wars. 

n Dal-ruaih, ' parclied or sandy fiehl.' The etymology of Par- 
dn lena is uncertain. The daughter of Fok'ath was, probably, so 
called from a place in U!s;er, where her father had defeated part of 
the adherents of x\rtho, king of Ireland. Dardu-lena : the dark wood 
af Moi lera.* As Foldath was proud and ostentatious, it would ap- 
pear, that he had transferred the name of a p^acs, ^^ here l^e himse' " 
had been Yictorious, to liis daugltter. 

Book Y. AN EPIC POEM. 171 

Son « of Alpin; bring tlie harp : give Filian's praise 
to tb.c wind : raise high his praise, in my hall, while 
yet lie shines in war. 

Leave, blue-eyed Clatho, leave thy hall. Behold 
that early beam of thine. The host is withered in its 
course. No further look — it is dark. Light trembling 
from tjie harp, strike, vijgins, strike the sound. Ko 
hunter he descends from the dewy haunt of the bound- 
ing roe. He bends not his bow on the winds ', or sends 
his grey arrow abroad. 

Deep-folded in red v/ar, the battle rolls against his 
side. Or, striding midst the ridgy strife, he pours the 
deaths of thousands forth. Fillan is like a spirit of 
heaven, that descends fi-om the skirt of his blast. The 
troubled ocean feels his steps, as he sti ides from wave to 
wave. His path kindles behind him ; islands shake their 
heads on the hea\ing seas. 

o Those sudden transitions from the sufiject, are not uncommoa 
in the con-.pobitions of Otsian. Tliat in tiiis place has a peculiar 
beauty and proi.riety. The suspens^e in which the mind of the read- 
er is left, conveys the idea of Fil'.an's danger more forcibly home, 
i than any description which the i)oet could introduce. Tliere is a 
1 sort of eloquence, in silence with propriety. A minute detail of :he 
circumstances of an important scene is generally cold and insipid. 
The human mind, free and fond of thinking for itself, is disgUitcd to 
I find every thing done by the poet. It is, iherefure, his busincis to 
' ji-.ark the most striking outlines, and to allow the imaginations of his 
' "readers to finish the figure for themselves. 

; ^ The book ends in the afternoon of the third day from t'.ie opening 
ef the poem. . 

T E M O R A : 

*rhis book opens with a speech of Fingal, who sees Cathmor descend- 
ing to the assistance of his flying army. The king dispatches Os- 
sian to the relief of Fillaii. He himself retires beliind tljC rock of 
Cormul, to avoid the sight of the engagement between his son ar.d 
Cathmor, OSoian advances. The descent of Caihnnor described. 
He rallies the army, renews the battle, and, before Osrian could 
arrive, engages Fillan himself- Upon the approach »f Ossian, 
the combat between tlic two heroe;; ceases. Ossian and Cathmor 
prepare to. nght, but night coming on, prevents them. Ossiau 
returns to tlie place wl^'^re Cathmor and Fillan fouglit. He f.ndi 
Fillan mort.i!Iy wounded, and leaning against a rock. Thcif 
discourse. Fiilan dies : his body is laid, by Osi:.ian, in a neighbour- 
ing cave. The Caledonian army return to Fingal. He questions 
them about his son, and understanding that he was killed, retires j 
in silence, to the rock of Corn.ul Upon tlie retreat of the army 
cf Fingal, the army of the Firholg advance. Cathmor finds Bran, 
one of the dogs of Fingal, lying on the shield uf Fillan, before the 
entrance of the cave, where the body of that hero lay. Hi^ rejec- 
tions thereupon. He returns, in a melancholy mo«d, to his ar- 
my. Malthos endeavours to comfort him, by the example of hii 
father, Borbar-duthul. Cathmor retires to rest Tlie song of 
Sul-rr:al!a ccnclndcs the bock, which ends about the middle of the 
third night from the opening of the poem. 


**' 1^ ATHMOR rises on his echoing hill ! Shall Fingal 
Vj take the sword of Luno ? But what shall be- 
come of thy fame, son of white-bosomed Clatho ? Turn 
not thine eyes from Fingal, daughter of Inistore. I 
sliall not quench thy early beam ; it shines along my 
sou). But rise, O v/ood-skirted Mora, rise between the 
war and me ! Why should Fingal behold the strife, 
le'it Ijis dark-haired warrior should fall ! Amidst the 
song, O Carril, pour tl^e sound of the trembling harp ; 
here are the voices of rocks, and brigiit tumbling of 
water?. Father of Oscar, lift the spear ; defend the 
young in arras. Conceal thy steps from Fillan's eyes. 
He must not know that I doubt his steel. No cloud 
of mine shall rise, my son, upon thy soul of fire 1"' 

3cok VI. AN Eric roEM. 1T3 

lie sunk behind his rock, amidst the sound of Carril's 
;ong. Brightening, in my growing soul, I took the 
;pear of Tcmora W I saw, alonc^ Moi-lena, the wild 
lunibling of battle, the strife ot death, in p/ieaniing 
3, disjoined and broken round. Tillan is a beam of 
fire. From wing to wing is his wasteful course. Tlie 
ridges of war melt before him. They are rolled, in 
smoke from the fields. 

Now is tiie coming forth of Cathmor, in the armour 
of kings ! Dark-rolled the eagle's wing above irs hel- 
met of nre. Unconcerned are his steps, as if they were 
to the chase of Atha. He raised, at times, his dread- 
ful voice ; Erin, abashed, gathered round. Their souls 
returned back, like a stream ; they wondered at the 
steps of their fear : for he rose, like the beam of the 
morning on a haunted heath : the traveller looks back, 
with bending eye, on die field of dreadful forms. Sud- 
den, from the rock of Moi-lcna, are Sul-m.alla's trem- 
blnig steps. An oak took the spear from her hand ; 
hair-bent she loosed the lance : but then are her eyes on 
the king, from amidst her wandering locks. " No^ 
friendly strife is before thee : no l-ght contending of 
bows, as when the youth of Clubaq carne forth beneath 
the eye of Con-mor." 

As the rock of Runo, which takes the passing clouds 
from its robe, seems gro^^■ing in gathered darkness over 
the strcamv heath ; so seemed the chief of Atha taller, 
as. gathered his people round. As diiTerent blasts fly 
over the sea, each behind its dark-blue wave, so Cath- 

q The spear of Temora was that which Oscar had received in a 
present, from Cormac tiic son of Artho, king of Ireland It was of 
it that Cairbar made the pretext for qiiavrcling with Oscar, at tlie the f rst hook. 

r Chi-ba, » winding bay;' an arm of ti.e sea in Inis-huna, or the 
western coast of South Britain. It was in this bay that Cathmor 
waij wind-bound when Sul-malla came in the disguise of a yo;.iig 
warrior, to accompany him in his voyage to Ireland, Con-mr.r, the 
father of Sul-mAlla, as we learn from her soliloquy, at th*- doe oi 
the fourth book, w as dead before the dtp.-.vlure of his daughter,. 
P 3 ■ 

174 ■ temora: BookVL- 

nior's words, en every side, poured his warriors forth. 
Nor silent on his hill is Fillan ; he mixed his words 
with his echoing shield. An eagle he seemed, with 
sounding wings, calling the wind to his rock, when he 
sees the coming forth of the roes, on Lutha's f rushy 
held. Now they bend forward in battle : Death's hun- 
dred voices rose ; for the kings on either side were 
like fires on the souls of the people. I bounded along : 
lugh rocks and trees rushed tall betv/een the war and 
me. But I heard the noise of steel between my clang- 
ing arms. Rising, gleaming, on the hill, I beheld the 
l-.ackvv/ard steps of hosts : their backv/ard steps on either 
side, and wildly looking eves. The chiefs were met 
in dreadful light ; the two blue-shielded kings. Tall 
and dark, through gleams of steel, are seen the striv- i 
ing heroes. I rushed. My fears for Fillan flew, burn- 
ing acros my soul. 

I came ; nor Cathmor fled, nor yet advanced : he 
sidelong stalked along. An icy rock, cold, tall he seem- 
ed. I called forth all my steel. Silent awhile we 
strode, on eithersideof a rushing stream : then, sudden 
tiirning, all at once, we raised our pointed spears. We 
raised our spears, but night came down. It is dark and 
silent around ; but where the distant steps of hosts are 
sounding over the heath. 

I came to the place where Fillan fought. Nor voice 
nor sound is there. A broken heln-j«t lay on earth ; a 
buckler cleft in twain, " Where, Fillan, where art thou, 
yoimg chief of echoing Morven r" He heard me lean- 
ing against a rock, which bent its grey head over the 
stream. He heard ; but sullen, dark he stood. At 
length I saw the chief. 

" "Why standest thou, robed in darkness, son of woody 
Selma ? Bright is thy path, my brother, in this dark- 

s Lutlia was the name of a valley in Morven, in the days of Ossi- 
d-i. '1 hfre dwelt Toscar the son of Conloch, the father of Malviiv, 
,v w ho, iiy-oiiihat account is often cftUed the maid ofLutba. Lucj^a 
fitnit'.vs ' oV>:ft !(tfe«m.' 


brown field. Long has been thy strife in battle. Now^ 
the horn of FingrJ is heard. Ascend to the cloud of 
thy father, to his hill offcasts. In the evening mist he 
sits, and hears the voice of Carril's harp. Carry joy to 
die aged, young breaker of the shields." 

" Can the vanquished carry joy? Ossian, no shield is^ 
mine. It lies broken on the field. The eagle-wing of 
my helmet is torn. It is when foes fly before them 
that futhers delight in their sons. But their sighs burst 
forth, in secret, when their young warriors yield. No : 
Fillan will not behold Uic king. Why should the he- 
ro mourn :" 

" Son of blue-eyed Clatho, why dost thou awake my 
soul ? Wert thou not a burning fire belore him ; and 
shall he not rejoice ? Such fame belonged not to Ossian ; 
' yet was the king still a sun to me. He looked on my 
steps with joy ; shadows never rose on his face. A- 
scend, O Filian, to Mora : his feast is spread in the folds 
of mist." 

" Ossian, give me that broken shield ; th^e feathers 
that are rolled in the wind. Place them near to Fillan, 
tiiat less of his fime may fall. Ossian I begin to fail. 
Lay me in that hollow rock. Raise no stone above : 
lest one should ask about my fame. I am fallen in the 
first of my fields : fallen without renown. Let thy 
voice alone send joy to my flying soul. Why should 
the feeble know where dwells the lost beam of Cla- 
tho t.'* 

t A dblogue between ClatJio, the mother^ andSosmina the sister 
of that hero. 

Ciatho. " Daughter of Fingal, arise: thoq lightbetwcen thy locks. 
I i:t thy fair head from rest, soft-gliding sun-beam of Selma ! I be- 
held thy arms, on thy breast, white to.<sed amij^t thy wanderin'i- 
locks: when the rustling breeze of tJie morHing came from the de- 
sert of streams. Hast thou seen thy fatliers, Eos-mina, descending 
in thy dreams ? Arise, daughter of Clatho, dwells their aught of grief 
in thy soul ? 

Eos-mina. " A thin form passed before me, fading as It fiew : like 
the darkening wave of a breeze, along afield of grass. Descend, 
froso thy wall, Q harp, snsi eaH i>4c2 tJie soul of hasreil- 

176 temora: Book VI. 

" Is thy spirit on the eddying winds, blue-eyed king 
of shields ? Joy pursue my hero, through his folded 
clouds. The forms of thy fathers, O Fillan, bend to 
receive their son. I behold the spreading of their lire 
on Mora ! the blue-rolling of their misty wreaths. Joy 
meet thee, my brother. But we are dark and sad. I 
behold the foe round the a^ed, and the wasting av/ay 
of his fame. Thou art left alone in the field, grey- 
haired king of Selma." 

I laid liim in the hollow rock, at the roar of the night- 
ly stream. One red star looked in on the hero : winds 
lift, at times, his locks. I hstened : no sound was 
heard : for the warrior slept. As lightning on a cloud, 
a thought came riishing over my soul. My eyes roll- 
ed in fire : my stride was in the chng of steel. " I will 
find thee, chief of xitha, in the gathering of thy thou- 
sands. Why should that cloud escape, that quenched 
our early beam ? Kindle your meteors, my lathers, to 
lightmy daring steps. I v/ill consume in wrath 'J. Should 

cd away like a stream. I liear thy pleasant sound. I hear thee, O 
harp, and my voice hhall rise. 

How often shall ye rnsh to war ye dwellers of my soul ? Your paths 
are distant, kings cf men, in Mrin of bine streams. Lift thy Vv-ing, 
thou southern breeze, from Cono's darkening heath, spread the sails, 
of Fingal towards the bays of his land. 

But who is that in his strength, darkening in th.e presence of 
war? His arm stretcher to the foe, like the beam of the sickly shu; 
when hiifide is crusted with darkness ; and he rolls his dismal course 
through the sky. Who is it but the father of Bosmina .' Shall he 
return till danL;cr i« past? 

Fillan, thou art a beam by his side; beautiful but ^errihlc is thy 
lijht. Thy sword is before thee a bine i:re of night. When shalt 
thou return to thy roes; to the streams of thy ru.«hyiie!ds.' When 
shall I behold thee from Mora, while winds strew my locks on mess? 
Eut sh.all a young eagle return from the tield where the eeroes fall i 

Clatho. Soft, as the song of Loda, is the voice fof Sclma's maid. 
Pleasant to the ear ofjClatho is the name oftlie breaker of the shields. 
Ikho'.dthe king comes from ocean, the shield of Morven is borne by 
bards. The foe lias fled before him, like the departure cf mist. I 
hear not the Hnnuling wingsof my eagle; tlie rushing forth cf the 
son of Clatho. 1 hou art dark, O Fingal, shall he not return !— 

u Here the sentence is designedly left untiniihcd by the jioct. 

Bcick VI. AN EPIC POEM. 177 

I not return ! the king is without a son, grey-haired 
ami Jst his foes. His arm is not as in die days of old : 
his fame grows dim in Erin. Let me not behold him 
from h-igh, laid low in his latter field. But can I re- 
turn to the king ? Will he not ask about his son ? 
" Thou oughtest to defend yoting Fillan." I will meet 
the foe. Green Innis-fail, thy sounding tread is plea- 
sant to my ear : I rush on the ridgy host, to shun the 
eyes of Fingal. 1 hear tlie voice of the king, on Mo- 
ra's misty top ! He calls his two sons ; I come, my Li- 
thcr, in my grief. I come like an eagle, which the flams 
cfnightmetin the desert,andspoiled of half his wings.'-' 
Distant v, round the king, on Mora, the broken ridg- 
es of Mon en are rolkd. They turned their eyes ; 
each darkly bends, on his own ashen spear. Silent stood 
the king in the midst. Thought on thought rolled over 

Tlie sense is, that he was re. olved, like a destroying fire,tocoiisuir.e 
Cathmor, who had kiHed his brother. In the midst of thl, resolu- 
tion, the situation of Fingal suggests itself to him, in a very strong 
light. He resolves to return to assist the king in prosecuting the war. 
But then his shame for not defending his brother, recurs tm him. He 
is deteririiied again, to go and find cut Cathmor. We may consi- 
der him as in the act of advancing towards the enemy, when the liorn 
of Firgal sounded on Mora, and calied back hi? pec-plc to his presence, 
^ he soliloquy is natural: the resolutions which so suddenly follow 
one another, are expits&ive of a mind extremely agitated with sor- 
row and conscious alianie; vet the behaviour of 0>>ian, in the exe-, 
cution ef tJ;e command of Fingal, is so irreprehens\J»le, that ic is not 
easy to determine where he failed iiv his duty. The truih is, that 
whcu men fail in designs which they ardently wish to accomplisn, 
they natnrally blame themselves, a^ the chief cause of their di'fap- 

V This scene is soiemn. The poet always places Jiis chief char- 
' acter amidst objects which favour tl*e subRme. The face of the coun- 
try, the night, tl.e broken remains of a defeated army, and, above 
all, tiie attitude and si'ence of Fingal himself are ciixumstances cal- 
culated to impress an awful idea on the mind. Ossian is most suc- 
cessful in his night descriptions. Dark imsge« suited the melar.chc^ 
ly temper of his mind. His poem* were all con.posed afier the ac- 
tive part of his life was over, when he was Mind, and had survived 
all the comp^ions of hisycuth : we tiiCTL-forc Und a veU of :ncl«ii- 
choly thrown over t3e whole. 

178 temora: Book VI.; 

his soul. As waves on a secret mountain lake, eacK 
with its back of foam. He looked ; no son appeared, 
with his long-beaming spear. The sighs rose, crowd- 
ing from his soul : but he concealed his grief. At 
length I stood beneath an oak. Ko voice of R-!ij:ie was 
heard. What could I say to Fingal in his hour of wo ? 
His words rose, at length, in the midst : the people 
shrunk backward as he spoke "'. 1 1 

" V>^here is the son of Selma, he who led in v/ar ? I I .r 
behold not his steps, among my people, returning from I j 
the field. Fell the young bounding roe, who v/as so f 
stately on my hills ? He fell ; for ye are silent. The i 
shield of war is broke. Let his armour be near to Fin- 
gal ; and the sword of dark-brown Luno. I am wak- 
ed on my hills : With morning I descend to war." 

w The abasl-.ed behaviour of the army of Fingal proceeds rather 
from shanie than fear. The king was not of a tyrannical disposition : 
Ke, as he professes himself hi tJic fifth book, '* never was a dread- 
ful form , in their presence, darkened into wrath. His voice was no 
thunder to their earn : his eye sent forth w death." The hrit ages 
of society are not tl;e tinies of arbitrarry power. As tlie wants of 
mankind are few, they retain their independence. It is an advanced 
state of civilization that moulds the mind to that submission to go- 
vernn^ent, of which ambitious|magistrates take advantage,,and raise 
themselves hito absolute powct. 

It is a vulgar error, that the common Highlanders lived in abject 
slavery, under their chiefs. Their high idea of, and attachment 
to the liead« of their families, probably led the unintelligent into this 
mistake. When tihe honour of tlie tribe wus concerned, the com- 
mands of the chiefs were obeyed without restriction : hut if individu- 
als wtre oppressed, they threw themselves into the arms of a neigh- 
bouring clan, assumed a new name, and v.ere encouraged and pro- 
tected. 1 he feai of thij desertion, no donbt, made tlie chiefs cauti- 
ous in their government. As their consequence, in the eyes of others, 
was in proportion to the number of tlieir people, they took care to 
avoidevery thing that tended to diminisji it. 

It was but very lately that the authority of laws extended to the 
Highlands. Before that tiine the clans were governed , hi civil affairs^ 
not by the verbal commands of tlie chief, but by what they called 
Clechda, or the traditionj precedents of their ancestor^. When 
differences happened between individuals, some of the oldest men 
is the tribe were ciiOi^n uuiinrcs bct« een the parties, tu decide ac- 

Bool; Vr. AN" EPIC POEM. 179 

' High >t on Cormul's rock, an oak flamed to the 
wind. The grey skirts of mist are rolled around : thi- 
ther ftroJe the king in his wrath. Distant from the 
hcist he ah.vays lay, when battle burned within his soul. 
On two spears hung his shield on high ; the gleaming 
sign of death ; that shield, which he was wont to strike, 
by night, before he rushed to war. It w^as then his 
warriors knew, when the king was to lead in strife ; 
for never was this buckler heard, till Fingal's wrath a- 
rose. Unequal were his steps on high, as he shone in 
the beam of the oak ; he was dreadful as the form of 
the spirit of night, when he clothes, on hills, his wild 
gestures with mist, and, issuing forth, on the troubled 
ocean, mounts the car of winds. 

gordinj: tn theOeclida. The chiefintcrpo'^edlns authority, nnd in- 
variably enforced the decision. In their w.irs,\vhicli were frequent 
en acconnt of family feuds, the chief was less reserved in the execu- 
tion of his authority ; and even then he seidom exteiided it to the 
the taking the life of any of his triht. No crime \vas capital except 
niuider; and that was ver\- unfrequent in the Highlands. No-cor- 
por-il punisliment. of any kind, v/as inflicted. The memory of an 
aflrvint of this sort would remain, for ages in a family, and they 
\\o;;ld seize «very opportunity to be revenged, unless it came imme- 
1 diatelyfrom thehandsof the chief himself lin that case it was taken, 
I rather as a fatherly correction, thail a legal punishment for oirence% 
' X 'I his rock, of Cormul is ofcen mentioned in the preceding par- 
of the poem. It was on it Fingal and Ossian stood to view the bat- 
tle. The custom of retiring from tlie army» on the night prior to 
their engaging in battle, was universal among the kings of the Cale- 
donians. Trenmor, the most renowned of the ancestors of Fingal, 
is mentioned as the first who in-tituted thi.s custom. Succeeding 
bards attributed it to a hero of a laterperiod. In an old poem, which 
begins with " Mac-Arcath nan ceuJ srol," this custom of retiring 
from the army, before an engagement, is numbered, among the wise 
institutions of Fergus, the son of Arc or Arcath, the rirst king of 
Scots. I shall here translate the passage ; in some other note I may 
pro!ul>ly give all that remains of the poem. •» Fergus of the hun- 
dred streams, son of Arcath who fought of old: thou didst fijst retire 
at night ; when the foe rolled before thee, in echoing helds. Nor 
bending in rest is the king : he gathers battle in his soul. Fly, son 
of the stranger; with morn he shall rush abroad." When, or by 
\^oni, this poem was writ i^ uncertain. 

180 TEMOS.A: Book VI. 

Nor settled, from the storm, is Erin's sea of war ; 
they glittered beneath the moon, and, low-humming, 
still rolled on the field. Alone are the steps of Cathmor, 
before them on the heath ; he hung forward, with all 
his arms, on Moi"ven's living host. Now had he come 
to the mossy cave, where Fillan lay in night. One tree 
was bent above the stream, which glitered over the 
rock. There shone to the moon the broken shield of 
Clatho's son ; and near it, on grass, lay hairy-footed 
Bran y. Ke had missed the chief on Mora, and search- 
ed him along the wind. He thought that the blue-eyed 
hunter slept ; he lay upon his shield. No blast came 
over the heath, unknown to bounding Bran. 

Cathmor saw tlie white-breasted dog ; he saw tlie 
broken shield. Darkness is blown back on his soul: he 
remembers the falling away of the people. *' They 
come, a stream : are rolled away ; another race suc- 
ceeds. But some mark the fields, as they pass, with 
their own mughty names. The heath, through dark- 
brov/n years is theirs ; some blue stream winds to their 
fame. Of these be the chief of Atiia, when he lays him 
dovvTi oc earth. Often may the voice of future times 
meet Cathmor in the air ; when he strides from wind to 
wind, or folds himself in the wing of a storm." 

Green Erin gathered round the kicg, to hear the 
voice of his power. Their joyful faces bend, unequal, 
forvv'ard, in the light of the oak. They Vv^ho were ter- 

y This circumstance, concerning Bran, the favourite dog of Fin- 
gal, is, perhaps, one of the jnost affecting passages in the poem. I 
remember te have met with an old poem, composed long afcer tlie 
time of Ossian, wherein a story of this sort is very happily introdiic- 
erl. In one of the invasions of the Danes, UUin-Clundu, a consider- 
able chief, on the western coast of Scotland, was'killed in a rencoun- 
ter with a flying party of the enemy, who had landed, at no great 
distance from the place of his residence. Tlie few followers ivho 
attended him were also slain. The yonng wife of Ullin-cluiulu, wliij. 
had not heard of his fall, fearing the worat, on acccUiU of his long 
delay, alarmed tJie rest of his tribe, vjfho went in sea'-ch of him along 
f!;e shore. They did not find him j and the Leautifu! wTJovv bccanie 

l^OokVL AN EPIC POEM. 181 

ribic were removed : Luhar •' winds again in tlieir host, 
Cathmor was that beam fi-om heaven which shone when 
his people were dark. He was honoui cd in the midst. 
Their souls rose trembling around. The king alone 
ro gl;;dness showed : no strane^L-r he to war ! 

* Why is the king so sad ?" saidMalthos eagle-eyed, 
" Remnins there a foe at Lubar ? Lives there among 
them who can lift the spear ? Not so peaceful \tos thy 
father, Barbar-dud:iul a, sovereign of spears. His rage 

disconsolate. At length he was discovered, by means of his dog, 
vl\o sat on a rock beside the body, for some days. The poem is 
net just now in my hands, otherwise it* poetical merit might induce 
IKC to present the reader with a translation of it. The stanza con- 
cernir'.g the dop, wliose name was Duchos, or Blackfoot, is very de- 

" Dark-sided Dti-chos ! feet of wind I cold is thy .seat on rocks. 
He (the dog) sees the roes ; his ears are high ; and ha If h ? bounds a- 
M'ay. He looks ariTupd; but LMlin sleeps : he droop^ again his head. 
The vrinds come past; dark Du-chos thinks that Ul'.ii's voice is there. 
Put still he beholds hun silent, laid amidst the waving heath. Dark- 
sided Du-chos, his voice no more shall send thee over the heath !" 

In order to illustrate this passage, it is proper to lay before the 
reader tnc scene of the two preceding battles. Between the hills of 
Mora ar'.d Lona lay the plain cf Moi-lena, threagh which, ran the ri- 
ver Lubar. The first battle, wherein Gaul the son of Morni, com- 
manded on tlic CaJedonian .side, was fought on the banks of Lubir. 

; tlirre was little advantage obtained, on either side, the armies, 

ter tie battle, retained tlieir former positions. 

in the second battle, wherein Fillan commanded, the Irish, after 

the fall of Foldath^ere driven up the hill of Lona ; but, upon the 

coming of Cathmor to their aid. tJiey regained their former aitua- 

, and drove back the Caledoaians in their turn : so that Lubar 

winded again in their host 

Eorbar-duthul, the father of Cathmor, was the brother of that 
Colculla, who is said, ir. the beginning of tl.e fourth book, to have 
rebelled against Cormac king of Ireland. Borbar-duthul .seems to 
fiave retained all the prejudice of his family against tliC succession of 
the posterity of Con^r. on the Irish tl.ror.e. From this *hort episode 
•we learn some facts, which tend to throw light on the !\istory of the 
times. It appears, that when Swaran invaded Ireland, he was only 
opposed bytlie Cael, who possessed LMster, and the north of that 
island. Crilmar,thesonofMatha, whose gallant behaviour and death 
arc related in the thirdbookof Fingal, was the only chief of the race 
cf the Firbolg that joined the Cael, or hish Caledcnhius, during the 

182 temora: Book VI 

was a fire that alv/ays burned : his joy over filler 
foes was great. Three'days feasted the grey-haired he 
ro, when he heard that Calmar fell : Calmar, who aid 
ed the race of Ullin, from Lara of the streams. Of 
ten did he feel with his hands, the steel, which the^ 
said, had pierced his foe. He felt it with his hands, foi 
Borbar-duthul's eyes had failed. Yet was the king a sur 
to his friends ; a gale to lift their branches round 
Joy was around him in his h;ills : he loved the son o: 
Bolga. His name remains in Atha, like the awful me^ 
mory of ghosts, whose presence was terrible, but the") 
blew the storm away. Now let the voices ^ of Erir 
raise the soul of the king ; he that shone when v/ai 
Vv'as dark, and laid the mighty low. Fonar, from thai 
grey-browed rock, pour the tale of other times: poui 
it on wide-skirted Erin, as it settles round," 

" To me," said Cathmor, " no song shall rise : noi 
Fonar sit on the rock of Lubar. The mighty thcrf 
are laid low. Disturb not their rushing ghosts. Far. 
Malthos, far remove the sound of Erin's song. I re- 
joice not over the foe, when he ceases to lift the spear 
With morning we pour our strength abroad. Fingaj 
is wakened on his echoing hill." 

Like waves blown back by sudden winds, Erin re- 
tired, at the voice of the king. Deep-rolled into the 
field of night* they spread their humming tribes : Be- 
neath his own tree, at intervals, each c bard sat down 

inva<;Ion of Swaran. The aitlecent joy v:hich Borbar-duthul ex- 
pressed, upon the death of Ca'mar, is well suited with the spirit of re- 
venge, which yab*i9ted,jiniversa'.ly, in every country where the feu 
dal system was estaMiuhed. It would appear that some person had 
, carried to Eorhar-duthul th: weapon with which, it was pretended, 
Calmar had been killed. 

b ' The voices of Erin,' a poetical expression for the bards of Ire- 

c Vot only the kings, but every petty cliief, had their hards attend • 
ing them, in the fie-dj in thedaysofOssian; and those bards, in pro- 
portion to the power of the chiefs who retained them, had a niuribet 
'•i inferi)r bards in their train. Upon sok'n?.n occasions, all the 
■ -.rds in the an.-^y •.vauld jo':i in one chorus, either when they^cele 


ei wiih his harp. They raised the song, and touched the 
e, string : each to the chiet he loved. Before a burning 
i oak Sd-malla touclied at times the harp. She touch- 
[, ed tlie harp, and heard between, tlie breezes in her hair. 
7 In darkness, near, lay the king of Atha, beneath an 
)r aged tree. The beam of the oak was turned from him ; 
he saw the maid, but was not seen. His soul poured 
forth, in secret, when he beheld her tearful eye. " But 
battle is before thee, son of Borbar-duthul." ' 

Amidst the hai-p, al intervals, she listened v/!iether 
the v/arriors slept. Her soul was up ; she longed, in 
secret, to pour her own sad song. The field is silent. 
On their wings the blasts of night retire. The bards 
had ceased ; and meteors came, red v, inding with their 
ghosts. The sky grew dark : the forms of the dead 
were blended with the clouds. But heedless bends the 
daughter of Con-mor over the decaying flame. Thou 
wert alone in her soul, car-borne chief of Atha. She 

brated their victories, or lamented the death of a person, worthy 
and renowned, slahi in war. The words were of the composition of 
tlie archbard, retained by the king himself, who generally attained 
to that high cilice on account of superior genius for poetry. As 
the persons of the bards.were sarred, and the etr.oluments of their 
office considerable, the order, in bucceeding rimes, became very nu- 
merous, and insolent. It would appear, that after the introduction 
of Christianity, some ser.ed m the double capacity of bards and 
clergymen. It was, from this circumstance, that they had the nau.e 
of Chlere, which is, probably derived fiom the Latin Clericus. The 
Chlere, be their name derived from what it will, became at last a 
public nuisance ; for, taking advantage of their sacred character, 
they went about, in great bodies, and lived, at discretion, in the hou- 
ses of the chiefs ; till another j arty of the ^ame order, drove them a- 
wayby mere dint of satire. !>omc of the indelicate disputes of these 
worthy poetical combatants are handed down by tradition, and show 
how much the bards at last abused the privileges, which the admira- 
tion of their countrymen had conferred'on the order. It was this 
insolent behaviour that induced the chiefs to retrench their number, 
and to take away those privileges which they were no longer worthy 
to enjoy. Tneir indolence, and disposition to lampoon, extinguish- 
ed all the poetical fervour which distinguished their prsdcctssors, 
and :r.akcs u j the less regret the txtixictioa of the ord,.r. 

184 temora: Book. VI 

raised the voice of the song, and touched the harp be 

" Clun-galo ^ came ; slie missed the rrtaid. Wher 
art thou, beam of Hght ? Hunters from the mossy rock 
saw you the blue-eycd fair ? Are her steps on erass'; 
Lumon ; near the bed of roes ? Ah me ! I behold he 
bow in the hall. art thou, beam of light?" 

" Cease c, love of Con-mor, cease ; I hear thee no 
on the ridgy heath. My eye is turned to the king 
whose path is terrible in war. He for Vvhom my sou 
is up, in the seas .n of my rest. D^p-bosomed in wai 
he stands, he beholds me not from his cloud. Why. 
sun of Sul-malla, dosL diou cot look forth ? I dwell ir 
darkness here ; wide over me liies the shadowy mist 
Filled v/ith dew are my locks : look thou froiii thy 
cloud, O sun of Sul-malla's soul!'* * * * * * 

d Clun-galo, • white knee,' the wife of Con-mor, king of Inis-hu- 
na, and fe mother of Sul-naalla. She is bere represented, as missing daughter, after she had fled with Cathmor 

e sul nialla replies to the supposed question of her mother. 
wards the middle of this paragraph she calls Cathmor the sua of hct 
sout and continues the metaphor throughout. This book ends, wc 
may suppose, about the middle of the thir4 night, frcrm the opcnij g 
of til 3 poezKi. 


-H This book begins about the middle of the tlnril r.igJit from t!ie open- 
irig ot' tlie poem. The yoet describes a kind of mist, which, rose, 
by night, from the lake of Lego, and was the usual residence of 
the souls of the dead, during the interval their decease 
and the funeral song. The appearance of the ghost of l-'illan a- 
hove the cave where his body lay. His voice conies to Fingal, on 
the rock of Cormul. The king strikes tlie shield of Trcnmor, 
v.-hich was an infallible sign of his appearing in arms himself. Tlie 
extraordinary eircct of the sound of the shield. Sul-malla, start- 
ing from sleep, awakes Cathmor. Their afu'cting discourse. She 
juoists with him, to sue for peace'; he resolves to continue the w ar. 
He directs her to retire to tlic neighbouring valley of Lona, which 
was the residence of an old druid, until the battle of the next day 
should be over. He awakens his army with the sound of his 
ihield. The shield described. Fonar, the bard, at the desire of 
Cathmor, relates tJie first settlement of the Firbolg in Ireland, un- 
der tl'.eir le.ider Larthun. Morning comes. Sul-malla retires to 
the valley of Lona. A lyric song co.acludes the book. 


FROM the wood-skirted waters of Lego, ascend, at 
times, grey-bosomed mists, when the gates of the 
west are closeci on the sun's eagle-eye. Wide, over 
Lara's stream, is poured the vapour dark and deep : the 
moon, like a dim shield, is sv\^imming through its folds. 
Willi this, clothe the spirits of old their sudden gestures 
on the wind, v/hen they stride, from blast to blast, a- 
long the dusky face of the night. Often blended with 
the gale, to some warrior's grave ^i they roll the mist, 
a grey dwelling to his ghost, until the songs arise, 

d As the mistjv.liich rose from the lake of Lego, occasioned disea- 
ses and death, the bards feigned, as here, that it was the residence of 
the ghosts of the deceased, during the interval between their death 
and the pronouncing of the funeral elegy over their tombs ; for it was 
not allowable, without that ceremony was performed, for the spi- 
rits of the dead to mix with their ancestors, in their airy halls. It 
was the business of the spirit of the nearest relation to the deceased, 
ty taLs the miit of Lego, and pour it ever the grave. We find hers 

1S5 temora: , BookVir. 

A sound came from the desert: the rushing course oi 
Conar in \yhids. He poured his deep mist on Fillan, at 
blue-y/inding Lubar. Dark and mournful sat the ghost, 
bending in l>is grey ridge of sraoke. The blast, at time; , 
rolled him together: but thelovelyform returned again. 
It returned with slow-bending eyes, and dark wind- 
ing locks of mist. 

It v/as c dark. The sleeping host were still, in the 
skirts of night. The flame decayed on the hill of Fin- 
gal ; the king lay lonely on his shield. His eyes were 
half-closed in sleep ; the voice of Fillan came. " Sleeps 
the husband of Clatho : Dwells the father of the fallen 
in rest? Am I forgot in the folds of darkness ; lonely m 
the season of dreams ?" 

" Why art thou in the midst of my dreams," said 
Fingal ; as sudden he rose. " Can I forget thee, my 
son, or thy path of fire in the field ? Kot such, on the 
soul of the king, come the deeds of the mighty m arms. 
They are not there a beam of lightning, which is seen, 
and is then no more. I remember thee, O Fillan ! and 
my wrath begins to rise." 

The king took his deathful spear, and struck the 
deeply sounding shield : his shield that hung high on 
night, the dismal sign of war ? Ghosts fled on every 
side, and rolled their gadiered forms oa the wind, 

Conar, the son of Treninor, the first king of Ireland, according to 
Oiiiin, performing this office for tiliaii, ab it was ia Che cause of th.e 
family of Conar, that that hero was kilied. 

e The night-descriptions of Ossian were in, liigh repute among 
succeeding hards. One of tliem delivered a sentiment, in a distich 
more favourable to his taste for poetry, than to bis gallantry towards 
the ladre*;. I shall here give a translation of it. 

" More pleasant to tne is the night of Cona, darkstreami.^g 
from Ossian's harp : more pleasant it is to tne, than a whitc-bosom- 
cd dweller between my arms: than a faifhanded daughter of lieroes, 
in the hour of rest." 

Though tradition is not very satisfactory concerning the history 
of this poet, it has taken care to inform us that lie was very old 
v'hen lie wrote tlie distich. He lived (in what age, is uncertain) in 
one of tke western i>les, and hii i>a;r.e vras I'lirlocU Ciabh ^Us,^or Tur- 
I'tcHj of the grey loilj^. 


Thrice from the winding vale arose the voice of deaths. 
The harps f of the bards, untouched, sound mournful 
over the hill. 

He struck, again the shield, battles rose in thedreams 
of his host. The wide-tumbiing strife is gleaming over 
their souls . Blue-shielded kings descend to war. Back- 
ward-looking armies fly ; and mighty deeds are half- 
hid in the bright gleams of steel. 

But when the third sound arose, deer started from 
the clefts of their rocks. The screams of fowl are 
heard, in the desert, as each flew, frighted, on his blast. 
The son's of Albion half-rose, and half-assumed their 
spears. But silence rolled back on the host : they knew 
the shield of the king. Sleep returned to their eyes : 
the field was dark and stiil. 

No sleep was thine in darkness, blue-eyed daughter 
of Con-mor ! Sul-malla heard the dreadful shield and 
rose amidst the Her steps are towai'ds the king 
of Atha. " Can danger shake his daring soul !" In 
doubt, she stands, with bending eyes. Heaven burns 
with ail its stars. 

Again the shield resounds ! She rushed. She stopt. 
Her voice half-rose. It failed. She saw him, amidst his 
arms, diat gleamed to heaven's fire. She sav/ him dim 
in his locks that rose to nightly wind. Away for fear, 
she turned her steps. " Why should the king of Erin 
awake ? Thou art not a dreaiij to his rest, daughter of 

f It was the opinion of the tiines, that on the night preceding the 
death of a person worthv and renowned, tlie harps of those bards, 
who were retained by liis family, emitted melancholy sounds. This 
•was attributeti, to use Ossian's expression, to the light toucli of 
ghosts; who vvers supposed to have a foreknovvledixe of events; 
The same opinion prevailed long in the nortli, and the particular 
sound was calkd, the warning voice of the dsad. The voice of 
^eatlis mentioned in the preeeding sentence, was of a different kind, 
lach person was supposed to have an attendant spirit, who as>-umetl 
his farm and voice, on the night preceding his death, and appe;ire<l 
to some, in the attitude in whicli the person was to die. T!ie voices 
of death were the forsboling shrlelis of those spitlti. 

188 t£mora: Book VII. 

More dreadful rung the shield. Sul-malla starts. 
Her helmet falls. Loud echoed Lubav's rock, as over 
it rolled the steel. Bursting from the dreams of night, 
Cathmor half-rose beneath his tree. He saw the fomi 
of the maid, above him on the rock. A red star with 
tv/inkling beam locked down through her Moating 

*' Who comes through night to Cathmor, in the dark 
season of his dreams ? Bringest thou ought of war : 
"Who art thou, son of night ? Standest thou l>efore me, 
a form of the times of old? a voice from the fold of a 
cloud, to M^irn me of Erin's danger ? 

" Nor traveller of night am I, nor voice from folded 
cloud: but I warn thee of the danger of Erin. Dost 
thou hear that sound ? It is not the feeble, king of Atha, 
that rolls his signs on night." ^ 

" Let the warrior roll his signs ; to Cathmor they 
are the sound of harps. My joy is great, voice of night, 
and burns over all my thoughts. This is the music of 
kings, on lonely hills by night : v/hen they light their 
daring souls, the sons of mighty deeds ! The_ feeble 
dwell alone, in the valley of the breeze ; where mists 
lift their morning skirts, from the blue-winding 

" Not feeble, thou leader of heroes, were they, the 
fathers of my race. They dv/elt in the darkness of" 
batde : in their distant lands. Yet delights not my 
sou 1 in the signs of death ! He s who never yields, 
comes forth : Av/ake the bard of peace !" 

Like a rock v/ith its trickling waters, stood Cathmor 
in Ills tears. Her \ oice came, a breeze on his soul, and, 

g ringal is said to have never been overcome in battle. From 
t'.is proceeded that titiciOi" honour which is always bestowed on hjin 
in tradition, ' Fion-ghal nabuai,' Fingal of Victories.' In a poem. 
j(ust now in my hands, which celebrates some of the great actions of 
Arthur the famous Erirish hero, that appellation is often be»towed 
on hitn. The poem, from the phraseology, appears to be ancient ; 
aiid is, perhaps, thcusli tliat li not ineijUoaed, a trsnilation firom thj 

waked the memory of her land ; wlicrc she dwelt by 
her peaceful streams, before he came to the war cf 

" Daughter of strangers," he said; (she trembling 
turned away) " long have I marked in her armour, the 
young pine of Inis-huna. But my 30ul, I said, is folded 
in a storm. Why should that beam arise, till my steps 
return in peace ? Have I lyeen pale in thy presence, 
when thou bidst me to fear the king ? The time of dan- 
ger, O miud, is the season of my soul ; for then it swells 
a mighty stream, and rolls me on the foe. 

" Beneath the moss-covered rock of Lona, near his 
own winding stream : grey in his locks of age, dwells 
Clonmal '' king of harps. Above him is his echoing 
oak, and the dun-bounding of roes. The noise of our 
strife reaches his ear, as he bends in the thoughts of 
years. There let thy rest be, Sul-malla, until our bat- 
tle cease. Until I return, in my arms, from the skirts 
of the evening mist that rises on Lona, round the dv/ell- 
ing of my love." 

A light fell OH the soul of the maid ; it rose kindled 
before the king. She turned her face to Cathmor : her 
locks are struggling v/ith winds. " Sooner shall the 
eagle of heaven be torn from the streams of his roaring 
wind, when he sees the dun prey before him, the young 
sons of the bounding roe, than thou, O Cathm.or, be 
tui-ned from the stjife of reiiown. Soon may I see thee, 
warrior, from the skirts oi" ihe evening mist, when it is 
rolled around me, on Lona of the streams. While yet 
thou art distant far, strike, Cathmor, sti-ike the shield, 
that joy may return to my darkened soul, as I lean on 
the mossy rock. But if tliou should fall — I am in the 
land of strangers ; O send thy voice, from thy cloud, 
to die maid of Inis-huna." 

h Claon-mal, • crooked eye-brov/.' From t!ie retired lifc of this 
person, it a|?years, that he was of the order of the dniids ; which sup- 
position is not, at all, invalidated by the appellation of ' king of 
harps/ here bestowed on hira; for all agree that tiie bard* were of 
the aurabej of thp druids cri-inally. 

190 temora: Book VIT. 

" Young branch cf green-headed Lumen, why dost 
thou shake in the stoiTn ? Often has Cathmor returned, 
from darkly-rolling wars. The darts of deAth are but 
hail to me ; they have often bounded from my shield. 
I have risen brightened from battle, like a meteor from 
a stormy cloud. Return not, fair beam, from thy vale, 
when the roar of battle grows. Then might the foe 
escape, as from my fathers of eld. 

" They told to Son-mor ', of Clunar ^, slain by Cor- 
mac the giver of shells. Three days darkened Son-mor, 
over his brother's fall. His spouse beheld the silent king, 
and foresav/ his steps to war. She prepared the bow, 
in secret, to attend her blue-shielded hero. To her 
dvv^elt darkness at Atha, when the warrior moved to 
his fields. From their hundred streams by night, pour- 
ed down the sons of Alnecraa. They had heard the 
shield of the king, and their rage arose. In clanging 
arms, they moved along,, towards Ullin the land of 
groves. Son-mor struck his shield, at times, the leader 
of the war. 

" Far behind followed Sul-allin ', over the streamy 
hills. She was a light on the mountain, when they 
crossed the vale below. Her steps were stately on the 
vale, when they rose on the mossy hill. She feared to 
liDproach the king, who left her in Atha of hinds. But 
wlien the roar of battle rose ; when host was rolled on 
host ; when Son-mor burnt like the fire of heaven in 
clouds, v/ith her spreading hair came Sul-allin ; for she 
trembled for her long. Ke stopt the rushing strife, to 
save the love of heroes. The foe fled by night ; Clu- 
nar slept without his blood ; the blood which ought to 
be poured upon the warrior's tomb. 

" Nor rose the rage of Son-mor, but his days were 

1 Son-mor, ' tall liandsome man.' He was the father of Bcrbar- 
tiithiil, chief of Atha, and crandfather to Cathmor himself. 

fc^Cluan-er, 'man ef the held.' This chief was killed in batt'e 
by Cormac Mac Conar, king of Ireland, the father of Ros crana, the 
lirst wife of Fingal. Tlie tiary is alluded to in other poeiua. 

i 6uil-s:Ikuii, ' beautiful eye,' the wife efSon-mgr. 

Book VII. AN" EPIC POEM. 191 

dark and slow. Sul-aliln wandered, bvhcr grey streams, 
with her tearful eyes. Often did she loc>k, on tlie hero, 
when he was folded in his thoughts. But she shrunk 
from his eyes, and turned her lone steps away. I'attlcs 
rose like a tempest, and drove the mist from his soul. 
He beheld, with joy, her steps in the hall, and the white 
rising of her hands on the harp." 

" In m his arms strode the chief of Atha, to where 
his shield hung, high, in night : high on a mossy bough, 
over Lubar's streamy roar. Seven bosses rose on the 
shield; the seven voices of the king, which his warriors 
received, fi-om the wind, and marked over all their 

On each boss is placed a star of night ; Can-mathon 
V'ich beams unshorn : Coi-derna rising jfrom a cloud : 
Uioicho robed in mist ; and the soft beam of Cathlin 
glittering on a rock. Fair-gleaming, on its own blue 
wave, Reldurath half-sinks its western liglit. The red 
eye of Berthin looks, through a grove, on the slow-mov- 
ing hunter, as he returns tlirough shov/ery night, witli 
the spoils of the bounding roe. Wide in the midst, a- 
rose the cloudless beams of Ton-thiena ; Ton-thena, 
which looked, by night, on the course of tlie sea-tossed 
Larthon : Larthon, the first of Bolga's race, who tra- 
velled on the Vv'inds ;i. "vVhite-bosomed spread the sails 
of the king, tovwirds stream.y Inis-fail ; dun night was 
rolled before him, with its skirts of mist. The winds 
were changeful in heaven, and rolled him from v/ave 
to wave. Then rose the fiery-haired Ton-dicma, and 

ra Tn avoid multiplying notes, I shall gi\'e here the signification 
o'thenaTie* of the stars engraved oa the shield. Ceaiv-mathon, 

♦ heatl of the bear.' Col denia, ' slant and siurp beam.' Ul-okho, 

• niler of night.' Catiilin, ' beam of the wave.' Reu diirath,'star 
of the twilight.' Berthin, ' fire of the hill. Tonthena, ' nrseteor 
of the waves. ' These etymologies, ekcepfingthat of ^ ean-niathon, 
are pretty exact. Of it I am not so certain ; for it is not very pro- 
hable that the Firbolg lud distinguislied a constellation, so very ear- 
ly as the days of Larthon, hy the name of the Bear. 

n To travel on the winds, apostical cxpr.c-sioii for sailing. 

192 TEMORA : BookVn» 

laughed from her parted cloud. Larthon o rejoiced at 
the guiding beam, as it faint-gleamed on tlie tumbling 

Beneath the spear of Cathmor, awaked tliat voice 
which awakes the bards. They came, dark-winding, 
from every side ; each with the sound of his harp. Be- 
fore them rejoiced the king, as the traveller, in the day 
of the sun, when he hears, far rolling around, the mur- 
mur of mossy streams; streams that burst in the desert, 
fiom the rock of roes. 

. " Why," said Eonar, "hear we the voice of the king, 
in the season of his rest? Were the dim forms of thy 
fathers bending in thy dreams ? Perhaps they stand on 
that cloud, and wait for Fonar's song ; often they come 
to the fields where their sons are to lift the spear. Or 
shall our voice arise for hiin who lifts the spear ro 

Q Larthon is compounded of Lear, ' sea,' and thon, ' wave.' This 
itarne was given to the chief of the first coloiiy of the Firbolg, who 
retllcd in Ireland, onaccor.sit of his knowledge in navigation. Apart 
of as old poem is still extair., concerning thisj hero. 'Ihe author of 
if, probably, took the hint from the episode in tliis book, relative tt> 
the tir>t discovery of Ireland by Larthon. It abounds with those ro- 
mantic fables of giants and magicians, which distinguish the com- 
positions of the less anciei>t bards, Tiie descriptions, contained ia 
it, are ingenious and proportionable to the magnitude of the persons 
introduced ; but, being un'.wtural, they are insipid and tedious. Had 
the bard kept witliin t!',c bounds of probability, his genius was far 
from being contcmpt'r;;s. The exordium of his poem is not destitute 
of merit ; but it is tiie only purt of it that I think worthy of being 
presented to the reader. 

" Who first sent the Mack ship through ocean,like a whale through 
the bursting of foam > Look, from thy darkness, on Cronatl), Ossian 
of the harps of old ! 8end thy ligl-.t on the blue rolling waters, that I 
H'.ay behold tl*e king. I see him dark in his own shell of oak ! sea- 
tossed Larthon, thy soul is fire. It is careless as the wnd of th/ 
sails ; as the waves that roll by thy side. But the silent green i^ic 
ii before thee, with its sons, who ar* tall as woody Lumon ; Lunion, 
whicii sends from its top a thousand streams, white wandering down 
its sides " 

It may, perhaps, be for the credit of this bard, to translate no more 
■r,f this poem, fi)r t he continuation of hjs desciiption of the Iris?: grants 
■ ■- .»yb his wan*- cf judgment. 

Book VII. AN EPIC POEM. 193 

more ; he that consumed the field, fiom Moma of the 
proves ?" 

" Not forgot is that cloud in war, bard of other times. 
Higli shiill his tomb rise, on Moi-lena, the dwelling of 
renown. But now, roll back my soul to the times of 
my f.ithcrs : to the years when first they rose, on Inis- 
hup.a's waves. Nor alone pleasant to Cathmcr is the 
remenibiance of wood-covered Lumon. Lumon the 
land of streams, the dwelling of white-bosomed maids." 

" Lumon p of foamy streams, thou risest on Fonar's 
soul ! Thy -sun is on thy side, on tJie roeks of thy bend- 
in j^ trees. The dun roe is seen from thy furze : die 
deer lifts his branchy head ; for he sees, at tknes, the 
hound, on the half-covered heath. Slow, on the vale, 
are the steps of maids ; the white-armed daughters of 
the bow : they lift their blue eyes to the hill, from a- 
midf t their wandering locks. Not there is the stride of 
Lartlion, chief of Inis-huna. He niounts the wave on 
liis own daik oak, in Cluba's ridgy bay: that oak 
which he cut from Lumon, to bound along the sea. 
The maids tuin their eyes away, lest the king should 
be hnvly laid ; for never had they seen a ship, dark rid- 
er of the w<?ve I - ■ 

*•' Now he dares to call the winds, and to mix with 

e mist of ocean. Blue Inis-fail rose, in smoke : but 
diirk-sk irted night came down. The sons of Bolga fear- 
ed. The fiery-haired Ton-thena rose. Culbin's bay 
received the ship, in the bosom of its echoing woods. 
There, issued a stream, from Duthma's homd cave ; 
where spirits gleamed, at times, with their half-finished 

" Dreams descended on Larthon : he saw seven spi- 
ri ^s cf his fathers. He heard their half-formed word ; 
and dimly beheid tlie times to come. He beheld the 

p I.umon, as I have remarked in a preceflin;; note, was a hill in In- 
is-!v.;na. near the re-iOence of ?u)-malla. ThU cpiiode has an im- 
^mediafc csnnect'nn v,1rh what is said of Larthon, in the ds^cription 
ofCatlimors thie'd. 

Vol. II, if, 

194 temora: BookVIIi 

king of Atlia, the sons of future days. They led their ' 
hosts along the field, like ridges of mist, which winds 
pour, in autumn, over Atha of the groves. 

" Lartkon raised the hall of Samlaq, to the soft sound, 
of the harp. He went forth to the roes of Erin, to their 
wonted streams. Nor did he forget green-headed Le- 
mon ; he often bouncjed over his seas, to v^here white- 
handed Flathal looked from the hill o froes. Lumon 
of the foamy streams, thou risest on Fonar's soul." 

The beam awaked in the east. The misty heads of 
the mountains rose. Valleys show, on every side, the 
grey winding of their streams. His host heard die 
shield of Cathmor : at once they rose around ; like a 
crov/ded sea, when first it feels the v/ings of the wind. 
The waves know not. whither to roll ; they lift their 
troubled Iieads. 

Sad and slowretired Sul-malla toLonaof the streams. 
She went and often turned : her blue eyes rolled ii) 
tears. But wlien she came to the rock that darkly co- 
vered Lona's vale, she looked, from her bursting soul, 
on the king ; and sunk, at once, behind. 

Son s of Alpin, strike the string. Is there aught of 
joy in the harp ? Pour it then, on the soul of Ossian; 
it is folded in mist. I hear thee,- O bard ! in my night. . 
Bat cease the lightly trembling sound. The joy of 
grief belongs to Ossian, amidst his dark-brown years. 

Green thorn of the hill of ghosts, that shakest thy, 
head to nightly vvinds ! I hear no sound in thee ; is tiierc 
no spirit's windy skirt now rustling in thy leaves ? Of- 
ten are the steps of the dead, In the dark-eddying blasts j 
when the moon, a dun shield from the east, is rolled! 
along the sky. 

o SaiTila, ' apparitions,* so called from the vision of Larthcr, < 
cerning liis po.^terity. 

T Flathal, ' hcaveiilv, exquisitely beautiful.' She was the wife 

s The original of tiii< lyric ode is or>e of the mostbi?iu;if^i' pi 
cjcs of the poem. Theharmonyand v.-iriety of itsversi.icatior [t 
that the knou ledge of nn.aiic was t'onsiderably advanced in the days- 
cl 0» sian. See the specimen cf the original. 

Book VII. AN' EPIC POEM. 195 

Ullin, Carrll, and Ryno, voices of the days of old! 
Let me hc:ir you, in the darkness of Schna, and swake 
;he scul cl songs. I hear you not, ye children of mu- 
sic ; in what hall of the clouds is your rest ? Do you 
:ouch the shadowy harp, robed vith morning mist, 
ivhere the sun comes sounding forth from his green- 
leaded waves i 


The fourth morning fro:n the opening of the poem, comes on. Fin- 
gal, still conthiuing in the place to which he had relired on th.e 
preceding night, is seen at intervals, through the mist, which co- 
vered the rock of Cormul. The descent of the king is described. 
He orders Gaul,, and Carril the bard, to go to the valley of 
Cluna, and corxhict, from thence, to the Caledonian army, Fe- 
rad-artho, the son of Cairbar, the only per»on remaining of the 
family of Conar, the first knig of Ireland. The king takes the 
commarid of the army, and prepares for battle. Marching to- 
wards the enemy, he comes to the cave of Lubar, where the body 
of Fillan lay. Upon seeing hi» dog "Bran, who lay at the entrance 
of the cave, his grief returns tathmorarranw«s tiie army of tlic 
rirbolg in order of battle. Tke appearance of that hero. The 
general conflict is described. The actions of Fingal and'Cathmor. 
A storm. The total rout of the Firbolg. The two kings engage 
in a column of mist, on the baiiks of Lubar. Tlieir attitude and 
conference after the combat. The death of Cathmor. Fingal 
resigns tJie spear of Trenmor to Ossian. TI'C ceremonies observ- 
ed on that occasion. The spirit of Cathmor appears to Sul-maJla 
in the va.ley of Lona. Her sorrow. Evcnuig comes on. A feast 
is prepared. The coming of Ferard-artho is announced by the 
song -Qf a huadred bards. The poem closes with a speech of ri;i- 


As when the wintry winds have seized the waves of 
the mountain-lake, have seized them, in stormy 
night, and clothed them over with ice ; white to the 
hunter's early eye, the billows still seem to roll. He 
turns his ear to the sound of each unequal ridge. But 
each is silent, gleaming, strewn with boughs and tufts 
of grass, which shake and whistle to the wind, over their 
grey seats of frost. So silent shone to the morning the 
ridges of Morten's host, as each warrior looked up 
from his helmet towards the hill of the king ; the cloud- 
covered hill of Fingal, where he strode, in the rolling 
of mist. At times is the liero seen, greatly dim in all 
his arms. From thought to thought rolled the war, 
iilong hie mighty soul. 


Now is the coming forth of the king. First appear- 
ed the sword of Luno; the spear halt-issuing from a 
cloud, the shield still dim in mist. But when the stride 
\ofthc king came abroad, with all his grey, dew y locks 
in the wind; then rose the shouts of his host over every 
mo\ ing tribe. They gathered, gleamiog, round, witli 
rJi their echoing shields. So rise the green seas round a 
pirit that ccHnes down from the squally wind. The 
r..\clkr hears the sound afar, and lifts his head over 
the rock. He looks on the troubled bay, and thinks he 
dinily sees the form. The waves sport, unwieldy, 
round, with all their backs of foam. stood the son of Morni, Dutlino's race, 
and Cona's bard. We stood far-distant ; eacli beneath 
his tree. We shunned the eyes of the king; %v€ had not 
conquered in the field. A little stream rolled at my 
feet : 1 touched its light wave, with my spear. I touch- 
.i it v/ith my spear ; nor there was the soul of Ossian. 
It darkly rose, from thought to thought, and sent a- 
broad the sigh. 

" Son of Morni!" said the king, " Dermid, hunter 
of roes I why are ye dark, like two rocks, each with its 
trickling w^a^ers ! No wrath gathers on the soul of Fin- 
gal against the chiefs of men. Ye are ray strength in 
b.itde ; the kindling of my joy in peace. My early 
Yoice was a pleasant gale to your ears, w hen Fillan-pre- 
parcd the bow. The son of Fingal is not here, nor yet 
the chase of the bounding roes. But why should the 
b; eakers of shields stand, darkened, far av/ay ?" 
. Tall they strode to v/ards the king ; they saw liim turn- 
ed to Mora's wind. His tears came dov»n, for his blue- 
€yed son, whosleptinthecavecf streams. Buthebright- " 
ened before them, andspoke to the broad-shielded Idngs- 
" Crommal, with woody rocks and misty top, the 
field of winds pours forth, to the sight, blue Lubar's 
streamy roar. Behind it rolls clear- winding Lavadi, 
in the still vale of deer. A cave is dark in a rock ; a- 
bove itstrong-wingedeaglesdwell; broad-headed oaks, 
before it, sound in Cluna's wind. Withii], in his locks 
R 3 

IDS temora: Book VIII., 

of youth, js Ferad-artho ^'•; blae-eyed king, the son of: 
broad-shielded Caii bar, from Ullin of the roes. He ' 
listens to the voice of Coudan, as grey, he bends in' 
teeble light. Ke listens, for his foes dwell in the echo-l 

w FeradaTtho was the son of Cairbar Mac-Corinac king of Ire- 
land, lie was the only one remaining of the race of Conar, the son 
f)f lYenmor, the first Irish monarch, according to Ossian. In order 
to make this passage thoroughly undcrhtood, it may not te in. pro- 
per to recapitulatt some part of v.iiat has been said in preceding 
notes. Upon tUe death of Conar the son of Trenmor, his so:; Ccr- 
mac succeeded on the Irish throne. Cormac reigned long- Mis 
children were. Cairbar, who succeeded him, and Roscrana, the first 
wife of Fingal. Cairbar, long before the death oi his father Ccrmac. 
Jiad taken to wife Eos-gala, the daughter of Colgar, one of the most 
rcwcifu! chiefs in Connauglit, and had, by her, Artho, afterwards 
king of Ireland. Soon after Artho arrived at man's estate, liis iro- 
tlier, Eos gala died, and Cairbar took to wife Beltanno, the dai:gh- 
ter of Conacliar of Uiiin, wlio brougtt him a son, whom he called- 
ferad artho, i. e. a man in the place of Artho, The occasion of 
the name was this. Arlho, wlien his broflier was hum, was absent, 
on an expedition in the south of Ireland. Afalse report wasbroug! t :o 
his fatlier that he was killed. Cairbar, to use the words of the poi. m , 
on the subject, darkened for his fair-haired soa. He turned to the 
young beam cf light, the son of Beltanno of Conachar. 'I hou shalt 
be Ferad-artho, he said, a five before thy race. Cairbar soon after 
died, nor did Artho long sur\ive him. Artho was succeeded, in the 
Irish tJirone, by his sou Cormac, who, in his minority, was murder- 
ed by Cairbar, the son of Borbar-duthuh Ferad-artho, says tradi- 
tion, was very young, when the expedition of Fingal tosettle hirn on 
tl^c throne of Ireland, happened. During the short reign of young 
Cormac, Ferad-artho lived at the royal palace of 'Femora. Upon.' 
the murder of the king, Condan, the baid, conveyed Ferad-artho ■ 
privately to ti.e cave of China, behhid the mountain Crommal, in 
Ulstcir, where they Loth lived conctaled, during the usurpaLiou cf 
tliefaniily of Atha. All these particulars, concerning Ferad-aniio, 
may be gathered from the compositions of Ossian : A bard, lev an- 
cient, delivered the whole history, in a poem just now i;i ny 
possession. It has little m.erit, if we except the scene between ler ul- 
artho, and llie messengers of Fingal, upon their arrival in the v.tlliy 
cf Cluna. After hearing of the great actions of Fingal, the young 
prince proposes the fellow ing questions concerning him, to Gaul and 
Cermid- " Is the king tall as the rock of my cave ! Is his spear a 
fir of China? Is he a rough-winged blast on the mountain, which 
takes the green oak by the head, an4 tears it from its hill ? GHtters 
Lubar within his stridts, w Uer. he sends fais stately steps along { N» 

Book VII. AK EPIC POEM. 199 

ing halls of Tcmora. He comes, at times, abroad, in 
the skirts of mist, to pierce the bounding roes. When 
the sun looks on the field, nor by the rock nor stream 
is he ! Ho shuns the race of Bolga, who dwell in his-fa- 
tlier's hall. Tell him, that Fingal lifts the spear, and 
that his foes, perhaps, may fail. 

•' Lift up, O Gaid ! the shield before him. Stretch 
Dermid, Temora's spear. Be thy voice in his ear. O 
Carril, with the deeds of his fathers. Lead him to 
green Moi-lena, to the dusky tields of ghosts ; for there 
I hill forward in battle, in the folds of war. Before dun 
night descends, come to high Dun-mora's top. Look, 
from the grey rolling of mist, on Lena of the streams. 

If there my standard shall float on wind, over Lubar's 
gleaming couise, then has not Fingal failed in the last 
of his iields." 

Such were his words : nor aught replied the silent, 
striding kings. They looked side-long on Erin's host, 
Jind darkened as they went. Never before had they 
left the king, in the niidst of the stormy field. Behind 
them, touching at times his harp, the giey-haired Car- 
ril moved. He foresaw the fall of the people, and 
mournRil was the sound ! It vv^as like a breeze that 
comes, by fits, over Lego's reedy lake ; v/hen sleep 
half-descends on the hunter, within his mossy cave. 

" Why bends the bard of Cona," said Fingal, " o- 
ver his secret stream ? Is this a time for sorrow, father 
of lov/daid Oscar? Be the warriors ^ remembered in 

is he till, saiJ Gaul, as that rock ; nor glitter streams witkin his 
strides : but his soui is a mighty- flood, like the strength of Ullin's 

X It is supposed Malvina speaks the fnUowlng soliloquy. " Mal- 
vina is like the bow of the shower, iu the secret valley of i.treaTTis j 
it is bright, but the drops of heavea roll on its blended light. The/ 
say that I am lair within my locks, but, on my brightness is the wan- 
dering of rears. Darkness nies over ray soul, as the iii:-V\ wave of 
the breeze, along the grass of Lutha. Yet have no: tuc roes failed 
me, when I moved between the tills. Pkasint, he.-:eath my white 
.hand, arose theeound of harps: What then, daujiLierofLiitha, tra- 
yeU over thy sou!, Uk^th; dreary ratl^ of ^ ghost, along ^^^^ nJ^l^tly 

200 temora: Book VIII. 

* peace; when echoing shields are heard no more. Bend 
then, in grief, over the flood, where Wows the moun- 
tain-breeze. Let them pass on tliy soul, the biue-e^'ed 
dwellers of Lena. But Erin rolls to war, wide-tumb- 
ling, rough, and dark. Lift, Ossian, lift the shield. I 
am alone, my son !'* 

As comes the sudden voice of winds to the becalmed 
ship of Inis-huna, and drives it large, along the deep, 
dark rider of the wave : so the voice of Fingal sent Os- 
sian, tall, along the heath. He lifted high his shining 
shield, in the dusky Vvdng of war : like the broad, blank 
moon, in the skirt of a cloudy before the storms arise. 

Loud, from raoss-covered JNiora, poured down, at 
once, the broad- winged war. Fingal led his people 
forth, king of Mcrven of streams. On high spreads 
the eagle's v/ing. His grey hair is poured on his shoiJ- 
ders broad. In thunder are his mighty strides. He 
often stood, and saw behind, the wide-glcamingroUing 
of armour. A rock he seemed, grey over with ice, 
whose woods are high in wind. Bright streams leap 
from its head, and spiead dieir foam on blasts. 

Now he came to Lubar's cave, where Fillan darkly 
slept. Bran still lay on the broken shield : the eagle- 
wing is strewed on winds. Bright, from withered 
furze, looked forth the hero's spear. Then grief stir- 
red the soul of die king, like whirlwinds blackening 

beam ? Should the ycung -warrior fall, in the roar of his troubled 
felds? Younj^ virgins of Lutha arise, call back the waailerin^ 
thoughts ef Malvina. Awake the voice of the harp, along my e- 
choing vale. Then shall ir.y soul come, like a lin'it from the 
j;ates of the morn, when clouds are rolled around them with 
their broken si<les. 

" Dyveller of my thoughts, by night, whose form ascends iu 
troubled fields, v.'iy dost thou ttir up my so\il, thou far dis- 
tant son of the king? Is that the ship of my love, its darfe 
c'jurs-e through the ridges of ocean? Kovv art thou so sudden, 
Oscar, from the heath of shields." 

The rest cf this poem, it is said, consisted of a dialogue hc- 
tivcen Ullin and Maivina, vvhcrcin the dittress of the li'-ttcv ::• 
carried to the highest pitcli. 

BookVIIT. AN- £PIC POEM. 201 

on a lake. He turned liis sudden step, and leaned oa 
iiis bonding spear. White-breasted Bran came bound- 
ing with joy to the known path ot" Fingal. He came 
and looked towards the cave, where the blue-eytdjun- 
tef lay, for lie was wont to stride, with morninn;, to 
the dewy bed of the roe. It was then the tears of the 
king came down, and all his soul was dark. as 
the rising vind rolls away the storm of r.un, and leaves 
the white streams to the sun, and high hill's v/'ah their 
heads of gr^ss : so the returning war brightened the 
mind of Fingal. lie bounded y, on his spear, over Lu- 
har, and struck his echoing shield. His ridgy host 
bend forward, at once, with all their pointed steeL 

y The libh coinpositions concerning Fingal invariably speak 
of hhn as a Of these Hibernian poems there afe now 
uiany in my hands. From tlie language, and allusions to the 
t' in which they were writ, 1 should fix the date of their 
composition in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. In some;es, the poetry is far from wanting merit, but the fable 
is unnatural, and the whole conduct ol" the pieces injudicious. 
1 sli.»il give one iu^tance of the extravagant fictions of the Irish 
bards, in a poem which they, most unjustly, ascribe to Ossian. The 
story of it is this. Ireland being threatened with an invasion froni 
some part of Scandinavia, Fingal sent Ossian, Oscar, and Ca-olt 
to watch the bay, in which it was expected the enemy wa* 
to land. O-icar, unluckily, fell asleep, before the Scandinavi- 
ans appeared; and great as he was, says the Irish bard, he 
Jwd one bad property, that no less could waken him, before 
hia time, t^an cutting off one of his fiagers; or throwing a 
great stone against his head; and it was dangerous to come 
near him on those occasions, till he had recovered hi-.nseif, 
and was fully awake Ca-olt, who was employed by Ossian 
to waken his sou, made choice of throwing the scone agai!i8t 
his head, as the least dangerous expedient. nhe stone, re- 
bounding from the hero's head, shook, as it rolled along, the 
hill Cor thtee miles round. Oscar rose in rage, fought brave- 
ly, and singly, vanti'.ushsd a wing of the enemy's army. Thus 
the bard goes on, till Fingal put an end to the war by the 
total rout of the Scandinavians. Puerile, and even despi 
cable, as these fictions are, yet Keating and O'Flahercy have no- 
better authority than the poems wl-.ich contain them, for all 
that they write concaraing lion Mac-Couxna!, and ths prerei^il- 
ed militik of Ireland. 

203 T E M R A : Book VIII. i 

Nor El in heard, with fear, the sound: v/ide they, 
came rolling along. Dark Mahhos, in the wing of 
war, looks forward from shaggy brows. Next rose ' 
that beam of light Hidalla; then the side-long-looking [ 
gloom of Maronnan. Blue-shielded Cionar lifts the 
spear ; Cormar shakes his bushy locks on the wind. 
Slowly, from behind a rock, rose the bright form of 
Atha. First appeared his two pointed spears, then the 
half of his burnished shield : like the rising of a nightly 
meteor, over the vale of ghosts. But when he slione 
all abroad, the hosts plunged, at once, into strife. The 
gleaming waves of steel are poured on either side. 

As meet two troubled seas, with the rolling of all 
their waves, when they feel the v/ings of contending 
winds, in the rock-sided frith of Lumon ; along tlie e- 
choing hills in the dim course of ghosts : from the blast 
fall the torn groves on the deep, amidst the foamy path 
of v/hales. So mixed the hosts ! Now Fingal, now 
Cathmor came abroad. The dark tumbling of death 
is before them : the gleam of broken steel is rolled on 
their steps, as, loud, the high-bounding kings hcw^ed 
down the ridge of shields. . 

Maronnan fell, by Fingal, laid large across a stream. 
7'he waters gathered by his side, and leapt ^,rey ever 
his bossy shield. Cionar is pierced by Cathmor : nor 
yet t?.v the chief on earth. An oak seized his hair in 
his fall. His helmet rolled on the ground. By its 
thong, hung his broad shield ; over it wandered his 
streaming blood. Tlamin z shall weep, in the hall, and 

■ z Tla-niin, « mildly soft,' The loves of Cionar and Tlauiin 
were rendered famous in the north, by the fragment of a lyric 
poem, still preserved, which is ascrihed to Ossian. It is a dialogue 
between Cionar and Tlamin. Elic bcginji with a soliloquy, whicii 
lie ovei hears. 

Tianiin. " Cionar, son of Conglasof I-rnor, yownc hunter of dun- 
sided rocs ! .wl'.erc art thou laid, ani-l ' i i I : , i •• aUi the passin.j 
vitig of the breeze? I behold thee, iv., ' . . ; tl > I'lUi of thy owij 
«'.ark streams ! The clung thorn is rvV.cA Iv []\.- v, ,;ul, atid rustles a- 
Kng his shield. Bright i.i hit locks h: Uc;; the thoughts of his 


strike her heaving breast. Nor did Ossian forget the 
spear, in the wing of his war. He strewed the field 
with dead. Young Hidalla came, " Soft voice of 
streamy Clonra ! Why dost thoii lift the steel ? O that 
we met, in the strife of song, in thy ovv^n rush.y vale \" 
Malthos beheld him low, and darkened as he rushed a- 
long. On either side of a stream, we bend in the echo- 
ing strife. Heaven comes rolling down ; around burst 
the voices of squally winds. Hills are clothed, at times, 
in fire. Thunder rolls in wreatlis of mist. In darkness 
sh'.-unk tlie foe: Morven' s warriors stood aghast. Still 
I bent over the stream, amidst my whistling locks. 

Then rose the voice of Fingal, and the sound of thd 
flying foe. I saw the king, at times, in 'lightning, 
darkly striding in his m.ight. I struck m.y echoing 
shield, and hung forward on the steps of Ainecrr.a : the 
foe is rolled before me, like a vv'reath of smoke. 

The sun looked forth from his cloud. Tiie hundred 
streams of Moi-lena shone. Slow rose the blue columns 
of mist, against the glittering hill. " Where are the 
mighty kings ? ^ Nor by that stream, nor v/ood, are 

dreams fly, darkening, over Isi-i fjce. Thou tlijnkcst cf the bat- 
tles of Ossian, young son cf the echoing i^Ie ! 

" Half-hid, in the gmve, I sk down. Fly hack, yc mists of the 
hill. V^'lyy should ye hide her love from the blue eyes of Tlamin of 
harps ? 

Qlonar. " As the spirit, seen in » ("ream, flies from orr opening 
eyes, we think we behold his bright path between t!ie clos'ng h'lls ; 
iiofled the daughter of Clun-gai, from the sight of Clonar of .-hields. 
Ari.--e, from tlje gatlieriiig of the trees ; blue-eyed Tia in in ariAC. 

"llamin, " I turn me away from his steps. Why .siionid he know 
.of my love ! My white breast is heaving over si'»hs, as foam on the 
dark course of streams. But he passes away, in hisaims! Son of 
Coriglas, my soul is sad. 

Ciunar. " It was the shteid cf Finga I !" the voice of kingi from 
Selma of harps ! My path is towards green Erin. Ariie, fair lighr, 
from thy shades Come to the ficid of my sonl, there is ihe spread- 
ing of hosts. Arise, on Clon!ir's troubled soul, youn^i daughter of 
blue-shielded. Chm-gal." 

Clun-gal was the chief of I mor, one of ti.^e Hebrides. 

a Fingal and CatJimr. 'i'?ie conduct of the poet m tliii pas 

50-* temora: Book \ :. 

they ! I hear the clang of arms ! Their strife is iv. -:- 
hosom of mist." Such is the contendir,g of spirits m a 
n'ghtiy cloud, when they strive for the wintry v.ings 
of winds, and the rolling of the foam-covered waves. 

I rushed along. The grey mist rose. Tall, gleam.- 
ing, they stood at Lubar. Cathmor leaned n gainst a 
rock. His half-fallen shield received the stream, that 
leapt from the moss above. Towards him is the stride 
of Fingal ; he saw the hero'sblocd. His sword fell slow- 
ly to his side. He spoke, amidst his darkening joy, 

" Yields the race of Borbar-duthul ? Or still does he 
lift the spear ? Not unheard is thy name, in Selma, in 
the gicen dwelling of strangers. It has c<>me, like the 
breeze of his desert, to the ear of Fingal. Come to my 
hill offcasts : the miighty fail, at times. No fire am I 
to low-laid foes : I rejoice not over the fall of the brave. 
Tc close*' the wound is mine : I have known the herbs 
of the hills. I seized their fair heads on high, as they 
waved by their secret streams. Thou art dark and si- 
lent, king d' Atha of strangers." . 

sage is remarkable. His nurrcroi^s descriptions of single combats already exh. '.listed the subject. Notlu.Tg new, or adequate to 
^be high idea of the kings, could be said. Ossian, therefore, throws 
a co'iimu of inist over the whole, and leaves the combat to the 
3mapi;.at:on of tl>e reader. '. PfittS bjive almost iinivers.illy failed itv 
thcr o: scriptions of this sort. Not all the strd'ngth ef coiil^ 
Ei;sca:i; w"ch di^raty, the minutift: of a single combat. The throw- 
ing ;■ i ; irear. and tiie brayirisi of a shield, as some of or.r ov.n'poefs 
jnost elegant'y exgre.^^ it, cc nvcy no grand ideas. Our imaf/ii atioa 
stretclics beyond, and con«equently, despises the de.scri;7tian. It 
were therefore, well for srme poets, in my opinion, (though it is, 
pevL'.f s, f.omcwhat singtdar) tohave,scmetinies, like Qssian, thrown « 
jn'st over their sinp.le c(itril)?.t3. . , 

b Hngiil is very much celebrated, in tradition, for his knrv\Ie'!ge 
in the \ a rues of herbs. 'Die Irish 'poems concerning him, oftoi re- 
prese/'' I'm . curing the wounds which his chiefs received in h.iii ••. 
'! hey l.-.Mc corcerning him, that he was in possession of a cup, ccn- 
t;.iiVRg the cs'^^ of hcibs, which in-tataneously healed wouihIk, 
The knowle .^'C of rui.i'g tlie wounded, was till of late, univer.„Tl, a- 
niong the I.:;. h!:ir,..ers. \\'« hear ef no other ff^so'der, whicli re». 
quired the ski'i of physic. The wholejiomencis of ilx cliu-.ate, aH'i. , 
^n itctivc life, sf cnt in hunting; excluded diseaiies, V ' 

Book VIII. AK E?IC POE^T. 205 

"■By Atha of the strcamp," lie said, *^ there rises a 
mossv rock. On its head is the v/anjdering of boughs, 
within the course of winds. Dark, in its face, is a cave 
with its own ioud rilL There have I lieard the tread of 
stransjers t", when thty passed to my hall of shells. Joy 
rose, like a flame, on my soul : I blest the echoing rock'. 
Here be my dv/elling in darkness, in my grassy vale. 
From this I shall mouot the breeze, that pursues my 
thistle', beard ; or look down on blue- winding Atha, 
from its wandering mist." 

" Why speaks the king of tlie tomb ? Osslan ! the 
warrior has failed ! Joy meet thy soul, like a stream, 
Cathmor, friend of strangers ! My son, I hear the call 
of years : they take my spear as they pass along. Why 
does not Fingal, they seem to say, rest within his hall ? 
Dost thou always delight in blood ? In the tears of the 
sad ? No : ye darkly-rolling years, Fingal delights not 
in blood. Tears are wintry streams that u^aste away 
my soul. But v/hen I lie down to rest, then comes the 
mighty voice of war. It awakes me in my hall, an4 
calls forth all my steel. It shall call it forth no more ; 
Ossian, take thou thy father's spear. Lift it, in battle, 
when the prou(i arise. 

' My fathers, Ossian, trace my steps ; m.y deeds are 
pleasant to their eyes. Wherever I come forth to battle, 
on my held, are their columns of mist. But mine arni 
rescued the feeble j the haughty found my rage was 

c Tlie Iinspitable difpositisn of Cathmor was unparal'eled. He 
"ects, with pleasure, in hh last moments, on tlie relief he has af- 
forccd to strangers. The very tread of their feet was pleasanr in his 
car. His ho>pit.ilitv was not passed unnoticed by succeeding bards ; 
f jr, wit!', them, it became a proveri\ when they described the ho»pi - 
trfble disposition of a hero, t!iat!''ewas like Cathmur of Atha, the 
friend of strangers. It will seem Strange, that in all the Irish tradi- 
tion'!, there Is no mention made of Cathmor. T'lis m J,-it he attrl- 
bnted to t\\e revolutions and domestic coi. fusion"! th .t happened in 
tftat island, and utterly cut otY r.ll the real traditions concerning so 
a.';cient a period. AM that we hav^ related of the f^ate of Ireland be- 
fore ti;e fifth century is of late invention, antltlis vvorlca ii! iaforrn- 
€d sen.Trh:*-';, and iDjudicious bards. 

Vol, n, 5 

206 temora: Book VIII, 

fiie„ Never, over the fallen, did mine eye rejoice. 
Fcr ■ ii!S '■ my fathers shall meet rne, at the gates of 
thci' any hail:, tall, witli robes of light, with mildly- 
I:indl.:d eyes. But, to the proud in arms, they are dark- 
ened moons in heaven, which send the fire of night, 
led-wanderipg over their face. 

" Father of heroes, Trenmor, dweller of eddying 
v/inds ! I give thy spear to Ossian, let thine eve rejoice. 
Thee have I seen, at times, bright from between thy 
clouds ; so appear to my son, when he is to lift the 
f pear : then shall he remember thy mighty deeds, tho' 
iliou art now but a blast." 

He gave die spear to my hand, and raited, at once, a 
f tone on high, to speak to future times, with its grey 
head of moss. Beneath lie placed a sword e in earth, ; 
rind one bright boss from his shield. Park in thought, 
uwhile, he bends : his words, at length, came forth. 

" When thou, O stone, shall moulder down, and lose 
tjiee, in the moss of years, then shall the traveller come, 
and whistling pass away. Thou knowest not, feeble 
•«v';mderer, that fame once shone on ]>.Ioi~ltna, Here 
I'ingal resigned his spear, after the last of his fields. 
Pass away, thou empty shade ; in thy voice there is no 
renown. Thou dwelicst by schie peaceful stream ; yet 

d We see froin tliis passage, that even in the times of Osfiian, ami, 
coiibequently, before the introductiom uf Christianity, they hr.d some 
iiii:a Bf rewards and punishincnts after death. Those wlio behaved, 
ill life, with bravery and yiitue, vscre received, with joy, to the airy 
haiis of their fathers : but the dark in .'uul, to use the e?curession of 
the iioi.t, were spurned a\v::v from tlic iiabitation of heroes, to wan- 
der on all the \vir;i!s. A:'.ut!i.-r (,i);!;ii/n v. i\ich prevailed in those 
th\)es, tended not a little ^o a;a!:e iinlis,- eu.niou.s to excel one 
i-nother in martial a'xl;ievt.uier.Lj ]l was tliuui'ht, tliat in the lull ' 
of ckiid.s, every ur.e liad a, ra;-.ed alcove others, in proportion as 
i.e cxceilcd tlu.m i;, valour vlien h.e li\eri. 

e '1 here are scire .-tuiif, .-.rill to be seen in the north, wliich were 
crecteti as n.eniorial:. of .son.e re.-v,.,r;,;e transactions between the 
;.ricient chiefs, 'i lure ur; >^. rei ally ;'■. v:'m. beiie; th thtm some piece 
of arn.^,a;.dabitof ilrn. v-l.:. '. L: c..\:, ji^/laciuj, tli^^hit 
tL^rc, is uut 2ne.iUor.ifd i'^ tJ"..di:.L;i, 

CookVlIl. AN EPIC POB^. 207 

a few years And thou art gone. No one remeir.bers 
thee, tliou dweller of thick mist ! But Fingal shall bd 
cicithed with fame, a beam of light to other times ; for 
he went forth, in echoing steel, to save tlie weak ii? 

Brightening in liis fime, the king Strode to Lubar's 
sounding oak, where it bent, from its rock, over the 
bright tumbling stream. Beneath it is a narrow plain, 
and the sound of the fount of the rock. Here the stand- 
ard f of Moivcn poured its wreaths on the wind, to 
mark the way of Ferad-artho from his secret vale. 
Bright, from his parted west, the sun ^heaven looked 
abroad. The hero saw his people, and heard their shouts 
of joy. In broken ridges round, thev glittered to the 
beam. The king rejoiced as a hunter in his own green 
vale, when, after the storm is rolled away, he sees the. 
gleaming sides of the rocks. The green thorn sliakes its 
head in their face ; trota their top look forward the rocs. 

Grey ;, at his mossy cave, is bent the aged fojm or 
Clonmal. The eyes of the bard had failed. He leaned 
forward, on his staff. Bright in her locks, before 
him, Sul-nialla listened to ths tale ; the tale of r'le kmgs 
of Atha, in the days of old. The noise of ba::de had 
ceased in his ear : he stopt, and raised the secret '^:gh. 
The spirits of the dead, they said, often lighten, d over 
his soul. He sav/ the king of Atha iov/, beneath hi^ 
bending tree. 

f The erecting of liis standard on the hank of Lub.T, was tbe 
sifT'ial which Fingal, in the hc^^iniiirTg of tlie book, promised to give 
to tlie chief,, who wen"^ tcjcoiiduct Ferad-artho to the army, thoulfl 
he liiinself prevail in battle. This standard here, (and in every other 
part of Ossian's poem*, where it is mentioned) is called tlie sunbeam. 
The reason of tliis appel!ati<5a, is given more than once, ia notes 

g The poet changes the scene to the valtey of Lena, whither Ful- 
malla had been sent, by Cathmor, before the battle. Clonmal, an 
aged bard, or ratlier drnid, as he »eems here to be endui-d with a pre- 
science of events, had long dwelt there, in a cave. This scene is 
awful andsolemn, and «alciiiated co throw a_melj,Hcholy gloom ovisjt 
the mind. 

£08 temora: Book VIII, 

•' Why art thou dark ?" said the maid. " The strife 
of arms is past. Soon^ shall he come to thy cave, over 
thy winding streams. The sun looks from the rocks 
of the west. The mists of the lake arise. Grey, they 
spread on that hill, the rushy dwelling of roes. From 
the mist shall my king appear ! Beliold, he comes, in 
his arms. Come to the cave of Clonmal, O my best 

It v/as the spirit of Cathmor, stalking, large, a gleam- 
ing form. He sunk by the hollow stream, that roared 
between the hills. " It was but the hunter," she said, 
*" wiio searches for the bed of the roe. His steps are 
n6t i(/ith to v/ar J his spouse expects him with night. 
He shall, whistling, return, with the spoils of ttie dark- 
brown hinds." Her eyes are turned to the hill; again 
the stately form came down. She rose, in the midst of 
joy. He retired in mist. Gradual vanish his limbs of 
smoke, and mix with the mountain-wind. Then she 
knew that he fell ! " King of Erin ml thou low !" Let 
Ossian forget her grief; it wastes the soul of age i. 

h Catlimor had promised, in the seventh book, to come to tlic 
cave of Clonmal, after the battle was over 

i Tradition relates, that Ossian, the next day after the decisive 
battle between Fingal and Cathmor, vferrt to find out Sul-malla in the 
s-aney of Lona. His address to her, which is still preserved, I her-c 
iay before the reader. 

" iiwalte, thou daughtcrof Con-mor, from the fcrn-skirtetl cavern 
«f Lona. Awake, thou sun-beam in deserts ; warriTJtr one day 
fail. They move forth, like terrible light-.; but, ofreu, their cloud 
is near. Go to the valley of »trcaiv,s, to tlie wandering of herds on 
I.umon ; there dwells, in his lazy mists, the man of many days. ]i\i,t 
he is unknown, Sulmalla, like the thistle of the rocks of rues; it 
shakes its j;rey bcwd, in the wind, and falls unseen of our eye*. Not 
such are the kings of men, their departure is a meteor of fire, which 
pours its red course from the desert, over tke bo*om of night. 

'• He is mixed with the warriors of old, those sire§ that have hi4 
their heads. At times shall they come forth in song. Not forgcB 
has the warrior failed. He has not seen, Sul-malla, the fall of a t^eam 
efhinown: no fair-haired son, in his blood, young troubler of the 
fit'Id. I am lonely, yoling branch of Lumoji, I may h^r the voice 

Book VIII. AN FPIC POfAt. !2(31 

Evening down on Moi-lena. C!"v';y rolled the 
streams of the land. Loud came forth the voice or Fin- 
gal : the heam of oaks arose, tlie people c;athered round 
with gladness ; with gladness blended with shadc.^. 
Thev side-long looked to the king, and beheld his un- 
finished jov. Pleasant, from the way of the desert, the 
voice of music came, ^t seemed, at first, the noise of a. 
stream, far distant on its rocks. Slow it rolled along 
the hill like the runled wing of a breeze, when it takej: _ 
the tufted beard of the rocks, in the still season of night. 
Tt was the voice of Condan, mixed with Carril's trem- 
bling harp. They came with blue-eyed Ferad-artho, 
tc Mora of the streams. 

Sudden bursts the song from our ojM'ds, on Lena : the 
host struck their shields midst the sound. Gladncssrose 
bvigiitening on the king, like the beam of a cloudy 
day, when it rises on the gi-een hill, before the roar of 
winds. He struck the bossy shield of kings ; at once 
they cease arovind. The people lean forward, from 
their spears, towards tlie voice of tlieir land ^^. 

of the feeble, when my strengtli shall have faiUd in yeats, for young 
Oscar lias cea^•ed on his field.' 

Sul-inaDa returned to her own countrs% and m,i';cs a considerable 
fipirc in tlie poem wliich immediately fo'lows; her bciigviour in 
that piece accounts for that partial regard vatli whic'i the poet speaks 
of her throughout Temcra. 

k Before I finish my nptes, it may not be altogether iTrproper to 
obviate an objection, which ra^ be made to the credibility of the 
story of Temora, as related by Oasian. It may be asked, v.;;ether 
it is probalie fhat Finu;al could perform sucb. actions as are ascribed 
to him in ri is book, at an age wlien his grandson Oscar, had acquir- 
ed so much repxitation in arms. To this it may be answered, ttr.t 
Fingal was but very young (Cook IV.) vvl;en lie took to wife Ror« 
crana, who soon r.fter became the mother of Ossian. OsMan was .i'- 
34) extremely young when he married Ever-aliin the motherofOsca-. 
Tradition relates, that Finga! was but eighteen years old at the bin ii 
of ills son Ossian ; and that 0-; was much about the same a|:e, 
when Cscar, his son, was born. Oscar, perhaps, might be aboi;t 
tvcn:y, when he was killed, in the battle of Gabhra, (Book I.) so 
tl c aje of Finga', when the decisive battle was. fought between iifhi 
apa Catljoicr, wae just I'.fty-sijc years. la lliq^e thnes of activity 
' S 3 

^10 TEMORA, S:c. BookVIlT, 

. " Sons of Morv-en spread the least ; send the night 
away on song. Ye have shone around me, and "the 
dark storm is past. My people are the windy rocks, 
from which I spread my eagle win^s, Avhen I rush forth 
to renown, and seize it on its field, Ossian, thou hast 
the spear of Finga.1 : it is not the staff of a boy with 
which he strews the thistle round, young w:inderer of 
the field. No : it is the lance of the mighty, with 
which they stretched forth their hands to death. Look 
to thy fathcx-s, my son ; they are awiiJ beams. Widi 
morning hvl Ferad-artho forth to the echoing halls of 
Temora. Rer .iad him gf tl)e kings of Erin : the state- 
ly forms of old. Let c,:it the fallen be forgot; they 
were mighty in the £eld. Let Carril pour his song, 
that the kings may rejoice- in their mist. To-morrov/ 
I spread my sails to Selma's shaded walls ; where 
streamy Duthula winds through the seals of roes." 

and health, the natural strength and vigour of a man was little abat« 
«d, at such an age ; so that iliere is nothing imprubabiw i;; the itc» 
t;crni of F^figal, as related in tlui book. 


A P O E M. 


An adcress to Milvina, the daughter of Toscar. The poet relates 
the arrival of Catl.Un in Selma , to solicit aid against Duth-carmor 
of Cluba, who had killed Cathmol, for the sake of his daughter 
Laiiul. Fingal declining to make a choice among his heroes, 
wlio were all claiming the comnr.and of the cKpedition : they re- 
tired each to his hill of ghosts; to be determined by dreaniS. 
The spirit of Trenmor appears to C)!>iian and Oscar : they ii.l 
from the bay of Carmona, and, on the fourth Jay, appear oiT the 
valley of Ratii-col, in Inis-huna, where Duth-earmor had t.xcd 
bis residence. Ossian dispatches a bard to Duth-carmor to de- 
ir.and battle. Night comes on. The distress of Cathlin of Clu- 
tha. OsMan devolves the command on Oscar, who, accordiJig to 
tke custom of the kings of Morven, before battle, retired to a neigh- 
bouring hill. Upon the coming on of day, the battle joins. Os- 

} car and Duth-carmor meet. The latter fails. O-scar carries the 
mail and helmet of Dutlicarmor to Catldin, who had retired from 
tlie field. Catlilin is uiscovcred to Lc the aaupUter of Cathmol 
vlio had been Carried ott by force by, and maUe l-^rr escape fruta 
Dutli-cannor. ^ 

COME =», thou beam that art lonely, from watching 
in the night! The squally winds are around thee, 
from all their echoing hills. Red, over my hundred 
streams, are the light-co-vetcd paths of the dead. They 

a The traditions, which accompany tliis poem, inform us, 
both it, and the succeeding piece, went, of old, under the name of 
Lai-Oi-lutlia; i.e. ' the hymnsof themaidof Lutha.' They pretend 
also to fix the time of its composition to t;he third year after the 
dtath of Fingal ; that is, during the expedition of Fergus the son of 
lingal, to the banks of Uisca duthon. In support of tliis opinion, 
the Highland .M:nachieshave prefixed to this poem, an addross of Os- 
sian, to Qongal the yoimg son of Fergus, which I have rejected, as 
having no manner oi' connexion with the rest of the piece. It hi-i 
poetical merit ; and, probably it was tlie opening of one of Q»>i- 
in's other poems, tlmu-jh the burdsii juU.i.-ioiuly lrAU;f«rr-;J it to the 
fiec? ;".o .V aslvit i;i. 


rejoice, an the eddyingwinds,in the still season of night* 
Dwells there no joy in song, white hand of the harpg . 
of Lutha ? Awake the voice of the string, and roll my 
soul to me. It is a stream that has failed. Malvina, 
pour the song, 

I hear thee, from thy darkness, in Selma, thou that 
watchcst, lonely, by night ! Why didst thou with-hold 
the song, from Ossian's failing soul ? As the falling 
brook to the ear of the hunter, descending from his 
storm-covered hill ; in a sun-beam rolls the echoing 
stream ; he hears, and shakes his dewy locks : such is 
the voice of Lutna, to the voice of the spirits of he- 
roes. My swelling bosom beats high. I look back on 
the days that are past. Come, thou beam that art lone- 
ly from the watching eight* 

In the echoing bay of Carmona ') we saw, one day, 

" Congalj son of Fergus of Duratli, thou li^rht between thy locks, 
ascend to tlie rock of Selms, to tl:e oak of the breaker of shieWs, 
Look over the bosom of night, it is streaked with the red path of" 
the dead : look on the night of ghosts, and kindle, O Congal, thy 
soul. Ee not, like the moon on a stream, lonely in the n;idst of 
tlouds ; darkness closes around it ; and the beam departs. Depart 
rot, sen of Fergus, ere thou markest the field vith thy sword, 
scend fo the rock of Selma ; to the oak of the breaker of shields/ 

b Carmona, ' bay of the dark-hrown hills,' an arm of the sea in 
the neighbourhood ot Selma. In this paragraph are mentioned the 
signals presented to Fingal, by those who came to demand his aid. 
T he suppliants held, in one hand, a shield covered with blood, and, 
in the other, a broken s^prar; thei5rst a symbol of the death of thcif 
friends, the last an emblem of their own helpless situation. If t))e 
king chose to grant succours, which generally was the case, he reach- 
ed to tliem the she!! of feasts, as a token of his hospitality, and friend* 
ly intentions towards them. 

It may not be disagreeable to the reader to lay here before him tJie 
ceremony of tlie Cran-tara, which was of a similar nature, and. til! 
very lately, used in the Higlilands. When the news of an enem]^ 
came to the residence of tlie chief, he inmiediately killed a goat w 
liis own sword, dipped the end of an half burnt piece of wood in the^ 
blood, and gave it to one of his servants, to be carried to the reHt 
hamlet. Frem hamlet to hamlet this tessera was carried with the , 
utmost expedition, and in the space of a few hours the wisole clan, 
wwc in arms, and convened ia an appointed pheei the ntmie uf 

the bounding slflp. On high, hung a broken shield; 
it was marked with wandering blood. Forward came 
a youdi, in armour, and stretched his pointless spear. 
Long, over his tearful eyes, hung loose his disordered 
locks. Fingal gave the shell of kings. The words of 
the stranger arose. 

" In his hall lies Cathmol of Clutha, by the winding 
of his own dark streams. Duth-carmor saw wiiite-bo- 
somed Lanul <:, and pierced her father's side. In the 
rushy desert w&re my steps. He fled in the season of 
right. Give thine aid to Cathlin to revenge his father. 
I sought thee not as a beam in a land of clouds. Thou, 
like die sun, art known, king of echoing Selma." 

Selma's king looked around. In his presence, we 
rose in arm.s. But who should lift the shield ? for all 
Jiad claimed the war. The night came down ; we 
strode, in silence ; each to his hill of ghosts: that spirits 
might descend in our dreams, to mark us for the field. 

We struck the shield of the dead, and raised the hum 
of songs. We thrice called the ghosts of our fathers. 
We laid us down in dreams. Trenmor came, before 
mine eyes, the tali form of other years. His blue hosts 
were behind him in half-distinguished rows. Scarce 
seen is their strife in mist, or their stretching forward 
to deaths. I listened ; but no sound was there. The 
forms v/ere empty wind. 

I started from the dream of ghosts. On a sudden 
blast flew my whistling hair. Low-sounding, in the 
oak, is the departure: Qf the dead. I took my slileld 

wliich was the only word which accompanied the dcliverj' of the 
Craii tara. This symbol was the manifesto of the chief, by which 
he threatened and sword to thouC oi his clan, that did not immer 
diatcly appear at his standard. 

c Lanul. 'full eyed,' a surname which, according to tradition, 
was bestowed on the daughter of Cathmol, on account of litr beau- 
ty : tJiii tradition, however, may have been founded on that parcia- 
liry which the bard, have shown to Gathlinof Clutlia ; for, accord- 
iag to thei5, liW .""-Lchood could dwell in liis soul of the lovely. 


-from its bough. On-ward came the rattling of stefeli 
It was Oscar fi of Lego. He had seen his tathers. 

" As i^ushes forth the blast, on the bosom of whiten- 
ingwaves; socareless shall rtiycourse be through ocean, 
to the dwelling of foes. I have seen the dead, my fa- 
ther. My beating soul is high. My fame is bright 
before me, like the streak of light rin a cloud, wlien the 
feroad sun comes forth, red traveller of the sky." 

" Grandson of Branno," I said ; " not Oscar alone 
shall meet the foe. I rush forward, througli ocean, to 
the woody dwelling of heroes. Let us contend, my 
soft, like eagles, from one rock ; when they lift their 
broad wings, against the stream of winds." We raised 
our sails m Carmona. From three ships, they marked 
my shield on the wave, as I looked on nightly Ton-the- 
na = red wanderer between the clouds. Four days 
came the breeze abroad. Lumon came forward in mist. 
In winds were its hundred groves. Sun-beams mark- 
ed, at times, its brown side. White, leapt the foamy 
streams from all its echoing rocks. 

A green field, in the bosom of hills, winds silent witl^ 
its own blue stream. Here, midst the waving of oaks, 
were the dwelling of kings c^ old. But silence, for 
many dark-brown years, had settled in grassy Rath- 

d Oscar is here called Oscn.r Of, Lego, from liis mother being the: 
daughter of Branno, a powerful chief, on the banks of that lake. 
It is remarkable that Ossian addresses no poem to Malvina, in 
vhich her lover Oscar was not one of tlie principal actors. His 
attention to her, after the death of his son, shows that delicacy of 
sentiment is not convened, as sorae fondly imagine, to our own po- 
lished times. 

e Ton-thena, « fire of the wave,' was that r«rnarkab!e star, 
which as has been mentioned iti the seventh book of Temora, 
directed the course of Larthon to Ireland. It seems to have 
been well known to those who sailed on tliat .sea which di- 
vides Ireland from South Britain. As tiie course of Ossian was 
along the c»ast o* Inis-buna, he mentions with propriety, that 
star which directed the voyage of the celoay from that coun- 
try to Ireland. 

A POEM. £?15 

col f, for the race of heroes hnd failed, along the plea-' 
sant vulc. Dudi-carmor was here with hi?-pcople, dark 
rider of the wave. Ton-thena had hid her head in the 
sky. lie lx)und his white-bosomed sails._ His course 
is on the hills of R:;th-col, to the seats of roes. 

V»'e came. I sent the bard, with songs, to call the 
foe to light. Duth-curmor heard hifii with joy. The 
king's soul w as a beam of lire : a beam of lire, marked 
with smoke, rushing, varied, through die bosom of 
night. The deeds ot Duth-carmor were dark, though 
his arm was strong. 

Kight came, with the gatjiering of clouds ; by the ^ 
beam of the oak we sat down. At a distance stood' 
Cathlin of Cludia. I saw the changing soul of the stran- 
ger ;.-. As shadows fly over the heids of grass, so vari- 
ous is Cathlin's cheek. It was lair, within locks, that 
lose on Rathcol's wind. 1 did not rush, amidst his 
soul, with my words. I bade the song to rise. 

'' Osc:ir of Lego," I said, be thine the secret hill ^, to- 

f Ratk ci>I, ' woody field,' does not appear to havq been the 
residence of Diuli carmor; he seems rather to liave been forced 
thither by a storm ; at lea^t I should think that to be the meajikig of 
the poet, from his expression, that Ton-thena had hid her head, and 

t he bound his white bosomed sails ; which is as much as to say, 
^hat the weather was storaiy, ajid that Duth-caruior pat in to uie bay 
cf RatNcul f(ir shelter. 

g From this circumstance, succeeding bards feijned that Cathlia 
who is here in the di^guiae of a young warrior, had fallen in love with 
Duth-carmor at a, feast, to wh.ich he had been invited by her father. 
I.'er love was converted into detestation for him, after lie had mur* 
dtred her father. Lut as these rainbows of heaven are changeful, 
s;ty my authars, spc<iking of women, >he felt the return of her for- 
pier passion, upon the approacli of Duth-carmor's danger. I myself, 
vho think more favourably of tlie sex, must attribute the agiiatioa 
of Catlilin's mh.d to her cxtretiie sensibility of the injuries done her 
\>y jpucli-caanor : and this opinion it. favoured by the sequel of the 

h This p»s-»age alludes to the vv«Il known custom among the ar.- 
Ciciit kLngs of Scotland, to retire from their army on the night pre- 
ceding a battle. The story which Ossian introduces in the next pa- 
ragraph, concerns the fall of tha druids, of wliich I have given some 
Recount in tilt l;;utifcil;j..n. I: k saii h; nxny cIU j'tK^ns, f»;at tl;e 


night strike the shield, like Morven's kingr:. WItll 
d^Yf thou shalt lead in war. From my rock, I shall 
see thee, Oscar, a dreadful form ascending in llglit, like 
the appearance of ghosts, amidst the storms thty raise. 
Why should mine eyes return to tlie dim times of old, 
ere yet the song had bursted forth, like the sudden ris- 
ing of winds. But the years that are past are marked 
with mighty deeds. As the nightly rider of waves 
looks up to Ton-thena of beams : so let us turn our 
eyes to Trenmor, the fatiier of kings." 

Wide, in Carracha's echoing field, Carmal had pour- 
ed his tribes* They were a dark ridge of waves ^ the 
grey-haired bards were like moving foam on their face.- 
They kindled the strife around, with their red-rolling 
eyes. Nor alone were the dwellers of rocks ; a son of 
Loda was there ; a voice in his onm dark land, to call 
the ghosts from high. On his hill, he had dwelt, in 
Lochlin, in the midst of a leafless grove. Five stones 
lifted, near, their heads. Loud-roared his rushing 
stream. He often raised his voice to vWnds, when me- 
teors marked their nightly wings; when the dark- 
robed moon was rolled behind her hill. 

Nor unheard of ghosts was he ! They came with the 
sound of eagle-wings. They turned battle, in iields, 
before the kings of men. 

But Trenmor they turned not from t)attie.; he drew 
forward the troublecl v/ar ; in its dark skirt was Tra- 
thal, like a rising light. It was dark ; and Loda's son 
poured forth his signs,- on night. The feeble were not 
before thee, son ot other lands ! 

Then' rose the strife of kings, about the hill of nlglit ; 

drnkiS. in t'le extremity of theJr affairs, had solicited, and obtained 
aid from Scandinavia. Among the auxiliaries there came many pre- 
tended magicians, which circumstance Ossian alludes to, in his de- 
scription of the son of Loda. Magic and incantation could not, 
however, prevail: for Trenmor, assisted bv the valour of his son 
Tra<-bal, entirely broke the power of i-he druids. 

i Trenmor and Trathal. Ossiin inrroduced this episode, ataS 
example to his son, froin ancier-t times-. 

^ A porisf. 217 

but it was soft as two summer gales, shaking their light 
wings on a lake. Trenmor yielded to his son ; tor 
the mme of die king was heard. Trathal came iorth 
before his father, and the foes failed m echoing Cara- 
cha. The years that are past, my son, are mui ked witla 
mighty deeds ^, 

*#, *# **** 

In clouds rose the eastern light. The foe came forth 
in arms. The strife is mixed at Rath-col, like the roar 
of streams. Bthoid the contending of kings ! They 
meet beside the oak. Ln gleams of steel, the dark forms 
are lost ; such is tlie meeting of meteors, in a vale by 
night: red light is scattered round, and men foresee the 
storm. Duth-carmor is low in blood. The son of Os- 
sian overcame. Not harmless in battle was he, Malvi- 
na, hand of harps ! 

Nor, in the fields, are the steps of Cathlin. The stran- 
ger stood by a secret stream, where the foam of Rath- 
col skirted the mossy stones. Above, bends the branch v 
birch, and strews its leaves on winds. The inverted 
spear of Cathlin touched, at times, the streams. Oscar 
brought Duth-carmor's mail: his helmet with its eagle- 
wing. He placed them before the stranger, and his 
words were heard. " The foes of thy tather have 
failed. They are laid in the field of ghosts. Renown 
returns to Morven, like a rising wind. Why art thou 
dark, chief of Clutha ! is there cause for grief r" 

" Son of Ossian of harps, mv soul is darlily sad. I 
behold the arms of Cathmol, which he raisecl in war. 
Take the mail of Cathlin, place it high in Selma'o 
hall ; that thou mayest remember the hapless in thy 
distant land.'* 

From white breasts descended the mail. It was the 

k Tho-se who (Je'iver down this poem in tradition, lament that 
there is a gre^it part of it lost. In particular they regret the loss of 
an epi.-ode, wl ich was 1 ere introduced, with the seq icl of tlie storv 
of Carmal and his drnids. Tlieir attachment to it, was founded on 
the <!t scriptioi s of mai leal inchantments which it cjr.taincd. 

Vol. II. T 


race of kings ; the soft-handed daughter of Cathpor 
at the streams of Clutha. Duth-carmor saw her bright 
in the hall, he came, by night, to Clutha. Cathmol 
met him, in battle, brut the warrior fell. Three days 
dwelt the foe with the maid. On the fourth she fled 
in arms. She remembered the race of kings, and felt 
her bursting soul. 

Why, maid of Toscar of Lutha, should I tell how 
Cathlin failed ? Her tomb is at rushy Lumon, in a dis- 
tant land. Near it were the steps of Sul-maJla, in the 
days of grief. She raised the song, ior the daughter of 
strangers, and touched the mournful harp. 

Come, from the watching of night, Maivina, lonely 
beam ! 



Tills poem, which, properly speaking, is a continuation of the last, 
epcns with an address to Sul-malla, the daughter of the king of In- 
is-huna, whom Ossian met at the chase, as he returned from tire 
battle of Rathcol. Sul-malla invites Ossian and Oscar to a feast, 
^t the residence of her father, who was then absent in the war. 
Upon hearing their name and family, she relates an expjdition 
of Fingal into Inia-huna. She casually mentioning Cathmor, 
chief of Atha, (who then assisted her father against his enemies,) 
Oayan introduces the episode of Cul-gorm and Suran-dronlo, two 
Scandinavian kings, in whose wars Ossian himself a!id Cathmor 
were engaged on opposite sides. 'Ihe story is imperfect, a pare 
of the original being lost. Ossian, warned in a dream, by tke 
ghoet of Trcnmor, sets sail frsm Inis-huna. 

WHO a moves so stately, on Lumon, at the roar cf 
the foamy waters ? Her hair falls upon her heav- 
ing breast. White is her arm behind, as slow sheijends 

a The expedition of Ossian to Inis-huna happened a short time - 
before Fingal pasted over into Ireland to dethrone Cairbar the son of 
Borbar-duthul. Cathmor the brother »f Cairbar, was aiding Con- 
mor, king of Inis buna, in his wara, at the time that Ossian defeated 
Duth-carmor, in the valley of Rath-col. The poem is m.ore interest- 
ing, that it contains so many particulars concerning those personages 
who make so great i figure in Temora. 

The cjtact correspondence in the manners and customs of Inis- 
huna,, as here described, to those of Caledonia, leaves no room to 
din;bt, that the inhabitants of both were originally the samp people. 
Some may allege, that Osskn might transfer, in hispoerical descrip- 
tions, the manners of his own nation to foreigners. The objection 
is easily answtred ; for had Oskian used that freedom in this passage, 
there is no reason why he should paint the manners of the Scandip 
navians 40 different from those of the Caledonians. We find, how- 
ever, the former very different in their customs arid superstitioiw 
from the nations of Britain aad Ireland. The Scandinavian manners 
are remarkably barbarous and fierce, and seem to mark out a nation 
ji.iuch lest advanced va civil society, thaa J^he iuhabiunns of Brita*!!! 
were ia the tioies of Ossian, 


the bow. Why dost thou wander in deserts, like a 
light through a cloudy field? The young roes are pant- 
ing, by their secret rocks. Return, thou daughter of 
kings ; the cloudy night is near. 

It was the young branch of Lumon, Sul-malla of 
blue eyes. She sent the bard from her rock, to bid us 
to her feast. Amidst the song we sat down, in Con- 
mor's echoing hall. White moved the hands of Sul- 
maila, on the trembling strings. Half-heard, amidst 
the sound, was the name of Atha's king : he that was 
absent in battle for her own green land. Nor absent 
from her soul was he : he came midst her thoughts by 
night : Ton-thena looked in, from the sky, and saw 
her tossing arms. 

The sound of the shells had ceased. Amidst long 
locks, Sul-malla rose. She spoke, with bended eyes, 
and asked of our course through seas, " for of the kings 
of men are ye, tall riders of the wave *>." " No un-p 
known," I said, " at his streams is he, the father of our 
race. Fingal has been heard of at Cluba, blue eyed , 
daughter of kings. Nor only, at Cona's stream, is Os-. 
sian and Osc^.r knov/n. Foes trembled at our voice, 
and shrunk in other lands." 

" Not unmarked," said the maid, " by Sul-malla, is 

b Sul-malla here discovers the quality of Ossian and Oscar from 
their stature and stately pait. Among nations not far advanced ift 
civilization, a superior beaaty aod stateliness of person were insepa- 
rable from nobility of blood. It was from these qualities, that those 
o^ family were known by strangers, not from tawdry trappings of 
State injudiciously thrown round them The cause of this diatin- 
guishing property, must, in spnie measure, be ascribed to their un- 
niiKcd blood. They had no inducement ro intenwarry with the vul- 
gar : and no low notions of interest made them deviate from their 
choice, in their own sphere. In stat«6 where luxury has been long 
established, I am told, that beauty of person is by no means the 
characteristic of antiquity of family. 'I'his must be attributed to 
those enervating vices, which are ioffeparable from luxury and 
wealth. A great family, (to alter a little the words of the historian) 
it is true, like a river, becomes considerable from the length of its 
course, but, as it roils on, hereditary distempwi, as well as property, 
fj jw iucc6*ively into it. 

A POEM* 221 

the shield of Morven's king. It hangs high, ifi Cow 
mor's hall, in memory of the past ; when Fingal came 
to Cluba, m the days of other years. Loud roared the 
boar of Culdarnu, in the midst of his rocks and woods. 
Inis-huna sent her youtli5, but they tailed ; and virgins 
wept over tombs. Careless went the king to Culdarnu. 
On his spear rolled the strength of die woods. He was 
bright, they said, in his locks, the first of mortal men. 
Nor at the feast were heard his words. His deeds pas- 
sed from his soul of fire, like the rolling of vapours 
from the face of the wandering sun. Not careless look- 
ed the blue-eyes of Cluba on his stately steps. In white 
bosoms rose the king of Selma, in midst of their 
thoughts by night. But the winds bore the stranger 
to the echoing vales of his roes. Nor lost to other 
lands was he, like a meteor that sinks in a cloud. He 
came forth, at times, in his brightness, to the distant 
dwelling of foes. His fame came, like the sound of 
winds, to Cluba's wotdy vale c. 

c Too partial to our own times, we are ready to mark out remote 
antiquity, as the region of ignorance and barbarism. Tliis, perhaps, 
Li exceniting our prejudices too far. It has been long rcma'-ked, 
that knowledge in a great measure, is founded on a free intercoi.rse 
vvith mankind: and that the mind is enlai^ed in proporrion to the 
observations it lias made upon the manners of diiterent men and 
nations. If we look, with attention, into the history of Fingal, as 
delivered by Osbian, we shall find, that he was not altogether a poor 
ignorant hunter, confined to the narrow corner of an island. His 
expeditions to all parts of Scandinavia, to the north of Germany, and 
the different states of Great Britain and Ireland, were very nume- 
rous, and performed under such a character, and at such times, as 
gave him an opp;jrtunity to mark the undisguised manners of man- 
kint!. War, and an active life, as they call forth, by turns, all tlie 
powers of the soul, pre.^ent to us the different characters of men ; in 
times of peace and quiet, for want of objects to exert tliem, the 
powers of the mind lie concealed, in a great measure, and we see 
only artificial passions and maniiers. It is from this con-.ideratiiMi I 
conclude, that a traveller of penetration could gather more genuire 
knowledge from a tour of ancient Gaul, than from the minurest ob- 
servation ol all tiie artificial manners, and elegant o? 
mQU>irii iraii&e. 

r 3 


♦* Darkness dwells in Cluba ot^harps : the race of kings 
is distant far ; in battle is Con-mor of spears ; and Lor- 
raor u king of streams. Nor darkening alone are they ; 
a beam, from other lands, is nigh : the friend ■ of ' 
strangers in Atha, the troubler of the field. High, from 
their misty hill look forth the blue eyes of Erin, for he 
is far away, young dweller of their souls. Nor, harm- 
less, -^hite hands of Erin ! is he in the skirts of war ; 
he rolls ten thousand before him, ifi his distant field." 

" Not unseen by Ossian," I said, " rushed Cathraor 
from his streams, when he poured his strength on I-thor-. 
no ', isle of many waves. In strife met two kings in 
I-thorno, Culgorm and Suran-dronio : each from his 
echoing isle, stern huntef s of the bq^r ! 

" Tliey niet a boar, at a foamy stream : each pierced 
it with his steel. They strove for the fame of the 
deed ; and gloomy battle rose. From i»le to isle they 
sent a spear, broken and stained with blood, to call the 
friends of their fathers, in thtir sounding arms. Cath- 
mor came from Bolga, to Culgorm, red-eyed king : I 
aided Suran-dronlo, in his land of boars." 

" We rushed on either side of a stream, which roared 
;hrough a blasted heath. High broken rocks were 
round, with all their bending trees. Near are two cir- 
cles of Loda, with the stone of power ; where spirits 

d Lormor was the son of Con-mof , and the brother of Sul-malla. 
After the death of Con-mer, Lormor succeeded ijim in the throne. 

e Catiiinor, the son of Borbardiithul. it would appear, from the 
partiality with wliich Sul malla speaks of that hero, that she had seen 
hui\ previous lo his joining her father^s army ; though tradition po- 
sitively asserts, that it was after his return, that slie fcH in love wiih 

f I-thorno, says tradition, was an island of Scandinavia. In it, at 
a huatinp party, met CiUgorui and SuTan-dronlo, tlic kings of two 
neighbouring isjes. They differed about the imnour of killing a boar ; 
and a war was kindled between them. From this ep«ode we may 
karn, that the mannew of the Scandinavians were much more savage j 
and cru#l than those of Britain. It is remarkable, that the na«ies, i 
introduced in this story, are not of Galic original, which circum- 
stance arlci-ds rocai to Jur.poS?, tii.;t i; i;*a it;, fcuJwiation la truQ 


A POEM. 223 

dcs<?ended, by night, in dark-red streams of fire. There, 
mixed widi the murmur ot waters, rose the voice of 
aged men, they called the forms of night, to aid them 
in their war. 

" Heedless *^ I stood with my people, where fell the 
foamy stream from rocks. The moon moved red from 
the mountain. My song, at times, arose. Dark oii 
the other side, young Cathmor heard my voice ; for 
he Iay,l)eneath the oak, in all his gleaming arms. Morn- 
ing came ; we rushed to fight : from Vv/ing to wing in 
the rolling of strife. They fell, like the thistle head, 
beneath autumnal winds. 

" In armour came a stately form : I mixed my strokes 
witli the king. By turns our shields are pierced : loud 
rung our steely mails. His helmet fell to the ground. 
In brightness shone the foe. His eyes, two pleasant 
flames, rolled between his wandering locks. I knew 
the king of Atha, and threw my spear on earth. Dark, 
we turned, and silent passed to mix with other foes. 

Not so passed the striving kings '\ They mixed in 
echoing fray ; like the meeting of ghosts, in the dark 
wing of winds. Through either breast rushed the 
spears ; nor yet lay the foes on earth. A rock receiv- 
ed their fall; and half-reclined they lay in death. Each 
held the lock of his foe ; and grimly seemed to roll his 
eyes. The stream of the rock leapt on then* shields, and 
mixed below with bJood. 

" The battle ceased in I-thorno. The strangers met 
in peace : Cathmor, from Atha of streams, and Ossian, 

g From tiie circumstance of O-jian not being present at the rites, 
described in the preceriing parugnph. we may suppose tb«t he held 
them in contempt. This diiTerencaof sentiment, with regard to re- 
ligion, is a »QTt of argument, that the Caledonians were not oviginal- 
l,' a colony of Scaudinavjans, as some have imagined. Concerning 
so remote a period, mere conjecture must supply the place of argu- 
merit and positive proofs 

h CuliTorm and Suraa dronlo. The combat of tli« kings, and 
their attiiude in death are highly picturesque, and expressive of 
tiu; f;r3cl;y of jjiinai^j, -.vLioIi dkti.iguiihefl the ncithsrn nations. 

224 S;jL-MALLA 0? LUMON ; 

ki-ng of harps. We placed the dead in earth. Ouf 
st^ps were by Runar's bay. With the bounding boat, 
afar, advanced a ridgy \Vave. Dark was the ndrr of 
seas, but a beam of hght was diere, hke the ray of the 
sun, in Stromlo's rolling smoke. It was the daughter i 
of Suran-dronio, v/ild in brightened looks. Her eyes 
v/ere wandering flames, amidst disordered locks. For- 
ward is her white arm, with the spear ; her high heav- 
ing breast is seen, white as foamy v/aves, thatri^e, by 
turns, amidst rocks. They are beautiful, but th^y are 
terrible, and mariners call the winds." 

" Come, ye dvv^ellers of Loda! Carchar, pale in the 
midst of clouds ! Sluthmor, that stridest in airy halls ! 

i Tr:u'ition has haRded down the name of this princess. The 
bards c;il! tier RiinoForlo, which has no oriict »ort of title for being 
^cmiiuc, but its not being of Gahc ori;4inal ; a distinction, which 
the ijarda had not the art to preserve, when they feigned names for 
fureij;i;ners. The Hif^hland senachies. who very often endeavoured 
to supply the deficiency they thought they found in the tales of 
Ossian, Iiave given us the continuation of the story c)f the daughtt r 
of ^uran-dronlo. ''I'he catastroplie is so unnatural, and the circuin- 
stances of it so ridicnlOutly pompous, that for the sake of the inven- 
tors, I shall conceal them. 

Tlie wildiy beautiful appearap.ce of Runa forlo, made a deep im- 
pression on a chief, some ages ago, who was himself no contempti- 
ble poet. The stery is romantic, but not incredible, if we make al- 
lo%w:nce for the lively imagination of a man of genius. Our chief, 
jaiUng, in a Sturm, along one of tlie islands of Orkney, saw a woman 
in a l)oat, near the shore, whom lie thought, as he expresses himself. 
» as beautiful as-a sudden ray *f Che sun on the dark heaving deep.' 
7'he \erses of Ossian, on the attitude of Runo-fcrlo. which was so si- 
milar to that of the v.uman in the boat, wrought so much on his 
fancy, that he fell desperately in love. The winds, however, drove 
him from the coast, and after a few days he arrived at his residenci 
in Scotland. '! iiere his passion increased to such a degree, that two 
of his friends, fearing the consequence, sailed to the Orkneys, to car- 
ry to him tlie ohject of his desire. Upon enquiry, they soon found 
the nymph, and carried her to the enamoured chief j but mark liis 
surprise, when, in-tcad ' of a ray of the sun,' he saw a skinny fisber- 
vnman, more than middle aged, appearing before him. Tradition 
here evids the story ; bnt ;t may b-; easily supposed ILat the passici?' 
"t ilie cluvJ.sooa suLitidtd. 

A POEM, 225 

Corchtur, terrible in winds ! Receive, from his daugh- 
ter"-. : . iv, the foes of Suran-dronlo. 

*' N J <nadow', athis roaring streams ; no mildJy-look- 
ing farm was he ! When he took up his spear, the 
hawks shook their sounding wings : for blood was pour- 
ed around che steps of dark-eyed Suran-dronlo. 

" He lighted me, no harmless beam, to glitter on his 
streams. Like meteors I was bright, but I blasted the 
foes of Suran-dronlo." ***** ^ 

Nor unconcerned heard Sul-malk the praise of Cath- 
mor of shields. He was within her soul, like a fire in 
secret heath, w'xich av/akes at the voice of the blast, and 
sends its beam abroad. Amidst the song removed the 
daughter of kings, like the soft sound of a summer- 
breeze ; when it hfts the heads of flowers, and curls 
the lakes and streams. 

By nightcame a dreamtoOssiao, widiout form stood 
the shadow of Trenmor. He seemed to strike the dim 
shield, on Selma's streamy rock. I rose, in my raiding 
steel ; I kricw that war was near. Before the winds 
Our sails were spread ; when Lumon shov/ed its streams 
to the mora. 

Come ffom the waiching of night, Malyina, loHely 
beam ! 



Rnctal, in one of his voyages to the Orkney islands, was driven, by 
stress of weather, into a bay of Scandinavia, near the residence of 
Stavno, king of Lothlin. Starno invites Fingal to a feast. Fip* 
gal, doubting the faith of the king, and mindful, of his former 
breach of hospitality, (Fingal, D. III.) refuses to g». Stafno ga- 
ther.- together his tribes ; Fingal resolves to defend himself. Night 
coming on, Duth-maruno proposes to Fingal, to observe the mo- 
tions of the enemy. The king himself undertakes the watch. 
Advancing towards the enemy, he accidentally, comes to the cave 
of Turthor, where Starno had confined Conban-carglas, the cap- 
tive daughter of a neighbouring chief. Her Story is imperfect, a 
part of the original being lost. Fingal comes to a place of wor- 
ship, where Starno, and his son Swaran, consulted the spirit af Lo- 
da, concerning the issue of the wa,r. The reacounter of Fingal 
and Swaran. The Duan concludes with a description of the airy 
hall of Cruthloda, supposed to be the Odin tf Scandinavia. 


A TALE of the times of old ! Why, thou wanderer 
-L\ unseen, that bendest the thistle of Lora, why, thou 
breeze of the valley, hast thou left mine ear? I hear no 
distant roar of streams, no sound of the harp from the 
rocks ! Come, thou huntress of Lutha, send back his 
«oiil to the bard. 

a The bards distingulslicd those compositions, in which the nar- 
ration is often interrupted by episodes and apostrophes, by the name 
of Buan. Siiue the extinction of the order •f the bards, it lias been 
a name for all ancient compositions in verse. The abrupt 
manner in which die story of this poem begins, may render it obscure 
to some readers; it may not therefore be improper, to give here the 
traditioaal preface, which is generally prefixed to it. Two year* 
after he took to wUe Ros-crana, the daughter of Cormac, king of 
Ireland, Fingal undertook an expedition into Orkney, to visit hi» 
friend Cath-ulla, king of Inistore. After staying a few days at Car- 
rie- ihuraj the residence of Cath-uUa, thek^g snsail, to return tp 

A POEM. 227 

I look forward to Lochlin of lakes, to the dark rld- 
^ buy of U-thcrno, where Fingal descended trom o- 
cean, from the roijr of winds. Few are the heroes of 
Morven, in a land unknown ! Stamo sent a dweller of 
Loda, to bid Fingal to the feast : but the king remem- 
bered the past, and all his rage arose. 

"Nor Gormal's mossy towers, norStarno, shall Fin- 
gal behold. Deaths wander, like shadows, over his 
fiery soul. Do I forget that beam of light, the white- 
handed daughter '-> ot kings ? Go, son of Loda ; his 
words are but blasts to Fingal : blasts, that, to and fro, 
roll the thistles in autumnal vales. 

" Dudi-maruno c, arm of death ! Cromma-glas, of 
iron shields ! Struthmor, dweller of battle's wing ! Cor- 
mar, whose ships bound on seas, careless as the course 

Scotland ; but a violent storm arising, his ships were driven into a 
bay of Scandinavia, near Gormal.thc seat of Stamo, king of Locliiin, 
liis avowed enemy. S^arno, npon the appearance of strangers on his 
coast, suminor.eti together the neighbouring tribes, and advanced, in 
a hostile manoer, towards the bay of U-thurno, where Fingal had 
taken shelter. Upon ducovering who the strangers were, and fear- 
ing the valour of Fingal, which he had, more than once, experienced 
before, he resolved to accomplish bytrffai:hery,wliat he was afraid he 
should fiul in by open force. He invited, therefore, Fingal to a feast 
at which he intended to assassinate him. I he king prudently ce- 
clined to go, and Starno betook himself to arms. The sequel of (be 
ttory may be learned from the poem itself. 

b Agandecca, the daugliter of starno. whom her father killed, oa 
account of her discovering to Fingal a plat laid against bis life . 
Her story is related at large, in the third book of Fingal. 

C Duthmaruno is a name very famous in traditiftn. Many of his 
great actions are handed do vn, but the poems which contained the 
detail of them, are long since lost. He lived, it is supposed, in that 
part of the north of Scotland, which is over against Orltncy. Duth- 
maruno, Cronnnaglas, Strutlimor, and Cormar, are mentioned as at- 
tending Comhal, in his last battle against the tribe of Morni, in a po- 
em which is still preserved. It is not the work of Ossian, the phra- 
seology betrays it to be a modern composition. It is something like 
the trivial coinpOHitiuns, which the Irish bards forged under the name 
of Ot^ian, in the (ifteenth and sixteftath centuries, Duth-maruno 
signifies ' black and fteariy ;' Cromma-glas, ' bending and swarthy : 
Suu:h-uior, • roaring syjeam j' Cormar, ' esp'irt at .^ea-* 

2?8 CATH-LODA : 

of a meteor, on dark-streaming clouds ! Ariee, around 
me, children of heroes, in a land unkcown. Let each 
look on his shield, like Trenraor, tlie ruler of battles, 
" Come down," said the knig, " thou dweller be- 
tween the harps. Thou shalt rolj tliis stream away, 
or dwell with me in earth." 

Around him they rose in wrath. No words came 
forth : they seized their spears. Each soul is rolled in- 
to itself. At length, the sudden clang is waked, on all 
their echoing shields. Each took his hill, by night, at 
intervals, they darkly stood. Unequal burst the hum of 
songs, between the roaring wind. Broad over them 
rose the moon. In his arms, came tall Duth-maruno ; 
he from Croma-charn of rocks, stern hunter of the 
boar. In his dark boat he rose on waves, when Crum- 
thormoth c awaked its woods. In the chase he shone, 
among his foes ; No fear was thine, Duth-maruQo. 

" SonofComhal," hesaid, "mystepsshall beforward 
tlirough night. From this shield I shall view them, c- 
ver their gleaming tribes. Starno, of lakes, is before 
me, and Swaran, the foe of strangers. Their words are 
not in vain, by Loda's stone of power. If Duth-ma- 
runo returns not, his spouse is lonely, at home, where 
meet two roaring streams, on Crathmo-craulo^s plain. 
Around are hills, with their woods ; the ocean is rolling 
near. My son looks on screaming sea-fowl, young wan- 
derer of the field. Give the head of a boar to Can-do- 
na tt, tell him of his father's joy, when the bristly 
strength of I-thorno rolled on his lifted spear." 

c Crunithormoth, crie of the Orkney or Shetland islandi. The 
name is not of Galic original. It was subject to its own petty king 
who is mentioned in one of Ossian's poems. 

d Ceandona, « head of the people,' theson of Dni-.h-marwno. He 
became afterwards famous, in the expedition of Ossian, after the 
death of Fingal. 'l"he traditional tales concerning him are numerous, 
artd,fram the epithet in them, bestowed on him (Can-dona of boars) 
it would appear, lie applied himself to that kind of hunting, 
which his father, in this paragraph, is so anxious to recommend tu 
him. As I have mentioned tlie traditional tales of the Hig!!an !s, it 
may a»t be iirpropcr here, to give gome accoui.tof them. After 

A POEM. 2^9 

" Not forgettiQg my fathers," said Fingal, " I liave 
bounded over ridgy seas ; theirs were the times of dan- 
ger ill the days of old. Nor gathers darkness on me, 
before foes, though I am young m my locks. Chief 
of Crathmo-craulo, the field of night is mine." 

Ke rushed, in all his amis, wide-bounding over Tur- 
thor's stream, that sent its sullen roar, by night, throug'l 
Gormal's misty vale. A moon-beam glittered on a 
rock ; in the midst stood a stately form ; a form with 
floating locks, like Lochlin's white-bosomed maid. Un- 
equal are her steps, and short : she throws a broken song 
on wind. At timi,s, she tosses her white arms : for grief 
is in her soul. 
" Torcul-toriio c of aged locks ! where now are thy 

tlie expulsion of the bards from the houses of the chiefs, they being 
an indolent race of men, owed all their subMstence to the generosity 
of tlie vulgar, whom they diverted with repeating the Siimpositiona 
of their predecessors, and running up the genealogies of their enter- 
tauiers to the family of their chiefs. As this subject was, haivever, 
soon exhriu^ted, they were obliged to have recourse to invention, 
and form stories, having nofgundation in fact, which were swallow- 
ed, witli great credulitv, by an ignorant mukitude. By frequent re- 
peating, the fable grew upon their hands, aad as each tlirew in 
•whitever circumstance he thought conducive to raise the admiration 
of his hearer>, the story becime, at last, so devoid of-a!l probability, 
tl\?.t even the vidgar themselve? did not believe it. They however, 
liked the tales so well, that the bards found their advantage in turn- 
ing professed tale-makers. They then launched out into the wildest 
regions of fiction and romance. I brmly believe there are more sto- 
ries of giants, inchanted castles, dwar.fs, and palfreys, in the High- 
lands, than in any countrv' in Europe. These tales, it is certain, like 
other romantic compositions, have many things in them unnatura', 
and, consequently, disgustful to true taste ; but, I know not how it 
happens, tiiey command attention more than any otlier fictions I 
ever met with. Th.e extreme length of these pieces is very sur* 
prising, s'^nie of them requiring '.iiany days to repeat them jbutsucfl 
hold the^takc of the memory, that few circumstances are ever o- 
mitted by tlio^e who have received them only from oral tradition : 
V hat is more amazing the very language of the bards is still preserv- 
ed. It is curious to see, that the descriptions of magiificence, in- 
troduced in the^e tales, are even superior to all the pompous oriental 
fiction* of the kind. 

e Idrcu'-torr.o, according to tradition, was king of Cr,itlitjn,a 

230 cath-loda: 

steps, by Lulan ? thou hast failed, at thine own dark 
streams, father of Conban-carglas ! But I behold thee, 
chief of Lulan, sporting by Loda's hall, when the dark- 
skirted night is poured along the sky. 

" Thou, sometimes, hidest the moou, with thy shield. 
I have seen her dim in heaven, thou kindlest thy hair 
into meteors, and sailest along the night. Why am I 
forgot in my cave, king of shaggy boars ? Look ironi 
the hall of Loda, on loqely Conban-carglas." 

" Who art thou," said Fingal, " voice of night ?'* 
She trembling, turned away. " Who art thou, in thy 
darkness ?" She shrunk into the cave. I'he king loosed 
the thong from her hands : he asked about her lathers. 

" Torcul-torno," she said, " once dwelt at Lulan's 
foamy stream : he dwelt — but, now, in Loda's hallj 
he shakes the sounding shell. He met Starno of Loch- 
jin, in battle ; long fought the dark-eyed kings. My 
father fell, at length, blue-shielded Torcul-torno. 

*' By a rock, at Lulan's stream, 1 had pierced the 

district in Sweden. The river Lulan ran near the residence of Tor- 
cul-torno. 'Iliere is a river in Sweden still called Lula, whicli is pra- 
bably the same with Liil.ui. "1 lie war between Starno aii,d Torcul- 
tyrao, which terminated in the death of the latter, had its rise at a, 
liunting party. Starno being invited, in a friendly manner, by Tor- 
cul-torn«, both kings, with their followers, went to the mountain of 
Stivamor, to hunt. A boar rushed from the wood before the kings, 
and Torcul-torno killed it. Starno thought this behaviour a breach, 
upon the privilege of guests, who were always honoured, as tradition 
expresses it, with the danger of the chase. A quarrel arose, the 
kings came to battle, with all their attendants, and the party ofTop- 
cul-torno were totally defeated, and he himself shan. Starno pur- 
sued his victory, laid waste the district of Crathhin, and coming to 
the residence of Torcu! torno, carried ofl", by force, Conban-caritlas, 
the beautiful daughter cf his enemy. Her he continetl in » cave, . 
near the palace of Gormal, where, on account of her cruel treatment, 
slie became distracted. 

The jiaragraph just now before us, is the song of Conban-csrglas, 
at the .time she was discovered by Fingal. It is in lyric 'neasu 
and set to music, whicli is wild and simple, and so inimitably suited 
to the situation of the uuluppy kidy, that f:w can hear it v/i:j.iout. 

A FOE^T. 23i 

bounding roe. My wliite hand gpthered my hair, from 
off the streani of winds. I heard a noise. Mine eyes 
were up. My soft breast rose on high. My step was 
forward, at Lulan, to meet thee, Torcul-torno ! 

" It was Starno, dreadful king ! Kisredeyes rolled on 
Conban-carglas. Dark waved his shaggy brow, above 
his gathered smile. "Where is mv father,! said, he that 
was mighty in war? Thou art left alone among foes, 
daughter of Torcul-torno ! 

" lie took mv hand. He raised the sail. In this cave 
he placed me dark. At times, he comes, a gathered 
mist. Helifts,beforem.e,myfather'sshield. Ofteti passes 
a beam t of youth, far-distant from my cave. He dwells 
lonely in the soul of the daughter of Torcul-torno." 

" Ma'd of Lulan," said Fingal, " white-handed Con- 
ban-car j_ Lis ; a cloud, marked with streaks of lire, is 
rolled a^ong thy soul. Lock not to that dark-robed 
moon ; nor yet to those iBeteors of heaven : my gleam- 
ing steel is around thee, daughter of Torcul-torno. 

"Itisnotthe steel of the feeble, nor of thedark in soul. 
The maids are not shut in our f caves of streams ; nor 
tossing their white arms alone. They bend, fair withia 
their locks, above the harps of Selma. Their voice is 
not in die desert wild, voung Hght of Torcul-torno.'* 

Fingal, again, advanced his steps, wide through the 
bosom of night, to where the trees of Loda shook a- 
mid squally winds. Three stones, with heads of m.oss, 
are there ; a stream, with foaming course ; and dread- 
ful, roiled around them, is the dark-red cloud of Loda. 
From its top looked forward a ghost, half-formed of the 
shadowy smoke. He poured his voice, at times, amidst 

g By the heam'o' voiith, it afterwards appears, that Conbau can- 
glas means Swaran, the son of Starno, vfith whom, during her con- 
finement, she had fallen in love. 

h From tins contrast, wliich Finga; draws, between lii.> own na- 
tion and the inhabitanas of Scandinavia, we may Icarn, that the for- 
mer were much less barbarous than the latler. This dijtiiittioa is 

232 catm-loda: 

the roaring stream. Near, bending beneath a blasted 
tree, twoheroesreceivedhiswords : Swaran of the lakes, 
and Starno [ot of strangers. On their dun shields, they 
•darkly leaned : their spears are forward in night. Shrill 
sounds the blast of darkness, in Starno's floating beard. 
They heard the tread of Fingal. The warriors rose 
in arms. " Swaran, lay that wanderer low," said Star- 
no, in his pride. " Take the shield of thy fiither ; it is 
a rock in war." Swaran threw his gleaming spear ; it 
stood fixed in Loda's tree. Then came the foes for- 
ward, with swords. They mixed their rattling steel. 
Through the thongsofSwaran's shield rushed the blade 
of Luno '. The shield fell rolling on earth. Cleft the 
helmet k fell down. Fingal stopt the lifted steel. Wrath- 
ful stood Sv/aran unarmed. He rolled his silent eyes, 
and tlirew his sword on earth. Then, slowly stalking 
over the stream, he whistled as he went. 

Nor unseen of his father is Swaran. Starno turned 
away in wrath. His shaggy brows waved dark above 
his gathered rage. He struck Loda's tree, with his 
spear : he raised the hum of songs. They came to the 
host of Lochlin, each in his own dark path ; like two 
foam-covered streams, from two rainy vales. 

To Turthor's plain Fingal returned. Fair rose the 
beam of the east. It shone on the spoils of Lochlin ia 
the hand of the king. From her cave, came forth, in 
her beauty, the daughter of Torcul-torno. She gather-, 
ed her hair from wind ; and wildly raised her song, i 
ThesongofLulan of shells, where once her father dwelt. 
She saw Starno's bloody shield. Gladness rose, a light 
on her face. She saw tlie cleft hekiiet of Swaran ' ; 

so much observed througliout the poems of Ossian, that there can 
be no doubt, that he followed the real manners of both nations in 
his Bwn time. At the close of the speech of Fingal there is a great 
part of the original lost. 

i The sword of Fiugjl, so called from its maker, Luno of Loclilin» 
k The nehnet ofS varan. The behaviour of Fingal is always con- 
sistcm with that geHcrosity of spirit whith b;;longb to a hero. HC 
takes no adyantage ef a foe disanueil. 

A POEM. £P,3 
she shrunk, darl«:cned, from the king. " Art thou fal- 
len, bv thv liundred streams, O love of Conban-car- 
glas 1" ' . , . . 

U-thoniD, that rissst in waters ; on w'hose side are 
the meteors of night ! I behold the dark moon descend- 
ing behind thy echoing woods. On thy top dwells the 
misty Loda, the house of the spirits of men. In the end 
of his cloudy hall bends forward Cruth-loda of swords. 
His form is dimly seen amidst his wavy mist. His 
right-hand is on his shield : in his left is the half-viev/- 
less shell. The roof of his dreadful hall is marked with 
nightly iires. 

The race of Cni.thloda advunce, a ridge of formless 
shades. He reaches the sounding shell to those who 
shone in war ; but, between him and the feeble, his 
shipld rises, a crust of darkness. He is a setting meteor 
to the weak in arms. Bright, as a rainbow on streams, 
came white armed Conban-carglas. 

1 Conhan-c.irgla?, from seeing the helmet of Swaran bloody in the 
hands of I'int:;^!, conjectured tl-at that l^ero was killed. A part of 
the original is lo>t. It appe-.irs, however, from the sequel of the po- 
em, that the dani;hter of Forcul torno did net long survive her sur- 
prise, occasioned by thesuppo>ed t'Ciith of her lover. The descrip- 
tion of the airy hall of Loda ^which is supposed to be the same with 
th.jtof Odirv, tlic deity of Scandinavia} is more picturesque and des« 
criptivc, tlian any iii the £dda, or othci works of the northern Sc-aj- 



Fingal teturning, with day, devolves the command of the army cm 
Diitli-niaruno, wlio eiigrtge* the enemy, and drives tl\em over the of Turthor. Fingal, after recaUing his people, congratu- 
lates Duth-mariino on his succe>s, but di^covers that that hero waa 
iiiurtally wounded ia the engagement. Duth-malMno dies. Ul- 
Hn, the hard, in Jionourof the dead, introduces the episode of Co!- 
gorm and Strina-dona, wick which the Duan conclwdss. 


" "v^s^T'HEREaitthoUjSonof the king?" saiddaik-hair- 
'"^V ed Duth-rnaruno. " Where hast thou failed, 
young beam of Selma ? He returns not from the bosom 
of night ! Morning is spread on U-thorno : in hk mist 
is the sun, on hi3 hill. Warriors, lift the shields, in my 
presence. He must not fall, like a fire from heaven, 
whose place is not marked on the ground. He comes 
like an eagle, from the skirt of his squally wind ! In his 
haod are the spoils of foes. King of Selma, our souls 
were sad." 

" Near us are the foes, Duth-maruno. They come 
forward, like waves in mist, when their foamy tops are 
seen, at times, above the low-sailing vapour. The tra- 
veller shrinks on his journey, and knows not whither 
to fly. No trembling travellers are we ! Sons of heroes 
call forth the steel. Shall the sword of Fingal arise, 
or shall a warrior lead ?" 

The a deeds of old, said Duth-snaruno, are like paths 

a In this short episode wc have a very probable account given us, 
cf the origin of monarchy in Caledonia. The Gael, or Gauls, who 
possessed the countries to the north of the Frith of Edinburgh, were, 
originally, a number of distiHct tribes, or clans, each subiecr to ics owa 
chief, who was free and independent of any other power. \N lien the^nii invaded thciii, the coi^i-2fl dan<^er mightj perhai^s^ hav^. 

A POEM. 235 

to our eyes, O Finga] ! Broad-shicldcd Trenmor is still 
seen, amidst his own dim years. Nor feeble was tlie 
soul of the king. There, no dark deed wandered in 
secret. From their hundred streams came the tribes, 
to grassy Colglan-crona, Their chiefs were before them. 
Each strove to lead the war. Their swords were often 
half-unsheathed. Red rolled tlieir eyes of rage. Sepa- 
rate they stood, and hummed their surly songs,, " Why 
should they yield to each other ? their fadiers were 
equal in war." 

Trenmor was there with his people, stately in youth- 
ful locks. He saw tlie advancing foe. The grief of 
his soul arose. He bade the chiets, to lead, by turns ; 
tiiey led, but they were railed away. From his own 
nios»y hill, blue-shielded Trenmor came down. He led 
wide-skirted battle, and the strangers failed. Around 
him the dark-brewed warriors came : they struck the 
shield of joy. Like a pleasant gale, the words of power 
rushed forth from Selma of kings. Sui the chiefs kd, 
by turng, in war, till oiighty danger rose : then was the 
hour of the king to conquer in the field, 

"Notunkhown," saidCrommii-glasf^ ofshields, "are. 

indured tho<e reguli to join together, but, as they were unwilling to 
yi. Id to the command of one of tlieir own eumber, their battles were 
ill co:iductcd, and, consequently un&ucce.s!>f-ul. Trenmox was the 
first who represented to the chiefs, the bad consequencjis of carrying 
on their wars in this irregular manner, and advised, that they them- 
selves sliould alternately lead in battle. They did so, but they were 
ur.succeeful When it came to Treinnor's turn, he totally defeated 
the enemy, by his superior valour and conduct, which gained him 
such an interest ameng the tribes, that he, and his family after him, 
were regarded as kings ; or, to use the poet's es,pressi.i^n, " tlie words 
of power ruslied forth from Sejma of kings." The regal authority, 
however, except in time of, was but inconsiderable ; for every 
chief within his own district, was absolute and indeptjndent. Fronv 
the scene of the battle in this episode (which wasijithe valley of C'ro- 
ra,a little to the north of Agricola's wall) I should suppose that the 
enemies of the Caledonians were the Romans, or provincial Britons. 

b In tradition , this Crgmraa-glas makes a great figure in that bat- 
tle which Comhal lost, together with his life, to the tribe of Morni. fc 
tivc ju;t njv; iii icy IjincS; *5 1:L!l ;3mpositica,cf a verjiiiatlei^ 

236' C^TH-LODA : 

the deeds of our fathers, biat wlio shall now kad the 
v/ar, before the race of kings ? Mist settles on these four 
dark hiljs : within it let each warrior strike his shield. 
Spirits may descend in dai'kness, and mark us for the 
war/' They went, eath to his hill of mist. Bards 
marked the sounds of the shields. Loudest rung thy 
boss, Duth-maruno. Thou must lead in war. ^ 

Like the nvarmur of waters, tlie race of U-thorao 
came down. Starno led the battle, and Swaran of stor- 
my isles. They looked forward from iron shields, like 
Cruth-loda fiery-eyed, when he looks from behind the 
darkened moon, and strews hisisigns on night. 

1 he foes met bvTurthor's stream. Theyheaved like 
1 idgy waves. Their echoing strolces are mixed. Sha- 
dowy death flies crver the hosts. They were clortds of 
hail, with squally winds in their skirts. Their showers 
are roaring together. Below them swtUs the dark-roll- 
ing deep. 

Strife of gldomy U-thorno, why should I mark thy 
wounds r I'hou art with the years that are gone : thou 
iadest on my soul. Starno brought forward his skirt 
of w ar, and Swaran his own dai k wing. Nor a hai ni- 

il .te, as appears froirTThe language, in which all the tradition? coi'« 
cernine that decisive engagemer.t are jumbled to4;.ether. In justice to 
tl'.emevit of cl^e voem, I shcuid liave here presented to the reader a 
translation of it, diil not the bard mention some circumstances VKry 
lijiculous, and others altocietiitr indecent. Morna. the wife of Coiri* 
hal had a priucipal ha'id in all the transactions, previous to the dc? 
feat and death of her iiusband ; she, to use the words of the bard, 
♦' who vas the guiding star of the women of Erin." The bard, it ii to 
te heped, misrc present cd tlie ladies of his country, for Moi iia's beha- 
viour, wA.i, according- to liirn, so void of all decency and virtue, that 
it cainnot be supposed, they hridcho.'en her«for their guiding star, 'riie 
poem consists of many stanzas. Tlie langtiage is figurative, and t he 
numbers harmonlons ; but the piece i.y so f-ill of ar.acIrioni.sms, and 
sonneriual in its composition, that th.c a\itiinr, iDo-t uridoubtedly, 
van either mad, or dnnik vvh -;■ 'e wrrte =t. It is worthy of being re-., 
marked, that Comhal is, in i!i' , >■- ^, v ;-- 'jften called, Comlial n* 
li' Albin, or Comhal of All. 'ur. ; ^, I'eifntiy deiiivjiistratcs, 

that the .iMej.'atinnscf Keatlnj^ ,r. '^ ^' . '...:..: >./,cc;:gf rr,in|^ l-iyiit.4a^'j« 
Coiunal, are but of iatc iiiVeutio;., 

tfATH-LODA : 237 

less fire Is Duth-maruno's sword. Lochlln Is rolled o- 
ver lic;r streams. The wrathful kings are folded in 
thoughts. They rolltheir silent eyes, over the flight of 
their land. The horn of Fingal was heard, the sorft of 
woody Albion returned. But many lay, by Turthor's 
stream, siltnt in tiieir blood. 

" Chief of Crom-charn," said the king, ^*Duth-raaru- 
no, hunter of boars ! not harmless returns my eagle, from 
tlie field of foes. For this white-bosomed Lanal shall 
brighten, at her streams ; Can-dona shall rejoice, at 
rocky Crathmo-craulo.^" 

*' Colgorm c," replied the chief, " was the first of my 
race in Albion ; Colgorm, the rider of ocean, through its 
watery vales. He slew his brother in I-thorno : he left 
the land of his fathers. He chose his place, in silence, 
by rocky Cratiimo-craulo- His race came forth, in 
their years ; they came forth to war, but they always 
fell. The wound of my fathers is mine, king of echo- 
ing Isles !" 

He drew an arrpw from his side. He fell, pale, in a 
land unknown. His soul came forth to his fathers, to 
. their stormy isle. There, they pursued boars of, a- 
long tlie skirt? of winds. The chiefs stood silent around, 
as the stones of Loda, on their hill. The traveller ^ees 
them through the twilight, from his lonely path. He 
thinks them the ghosts of the aged, lorming future wars. 

Night came down on U-thorno. Still stood the chiefs 
in their grief. The blast, hissed, by turns, through e- 

c The family of Duth-maruno, it appears, came originally from 
•candiiiavia.or at least, foom some of the northernisles. subject in 
cliicf to the kings of Lochlin. The Highland senachies, who never 
n,is.«ed to make their comments on, and additions to the works of 
Of si^n, have given lu a long list of the ancestors of Duth-maruno, and 
a particular account of their aclions, many of which are of the mar- 
vellous kind . One of the tale makers of the north has choser. for lus 
hero, Starumfir, the father of Duth maruno, and corwideriag the ad- 
ven:urcs through which he has led him, the piece is neither disagree- 
al Ic, nor abounding with chat kind of fiction whic{i shoclis credib^i'- 

238 CATH-LotiA; 

very warrior's hair. Fingal, at length, bursted forth 
from the thoughts of his soul. He called UUin of harps, 
and bade the song to ri'se. No falling fire, that is only 
seen, and then retires in night ; no departing meteor 
was Crathmo-craulo's chief. lie was like the strong- 
beaming sun, long rejoicing on his hill. Call the names 
of his fathers, from their dwellings old. 

I-thorno <i, said tlic bard, that risest midst ridgy seas ! 
Why is thy head so gloomy, in the ocean's mist ? From 
thy vales, came forth a race, fearless as thy strong wing- 
ed eagles ; the race of Colgorm of iron shields, dwellers 
of Lsda's hall. 

InTormoth's resounding isle,aroseLurthan,streamy 
hill. It bent its woody head above a silent vale. There 
at foamy Cruruth's source, dwelt Rurmar, hunter of 
boars, tlis daughter was fiir as a sun-beam, white-bo- 
somed Strina-dona ! 

Many a king of heroes, and hero of iron shields ; ma- 
ny a youth of heavy locks, came to Rurmar's echoing 
hall. They came to woo the maid, the stately huntress 
of Tormoth wild. But thou lookest careless from thy 
steps, high-boscmed Strina-dona ! 

li on the heath she m.ovcd,her breast was whiter than 
the down of Cana ^ ; if on the sea-beat shore, than the 

d This episode is, in tlie original, extremely beautiful. It is set 
to that wild kind of iniisic, which some of the Highlanders distin- 
guitli, by the titje of ' Fun Oimarra, or thesong of Mermaids.' i^ome 
p:irt of tlie air is absolutely infern;)!, but there are many returns in 
the ineasuie, which are Inexpressibly wild and beautiful. Froni the 
penius of the music, I should think, it came originally from Scandi- 
navia, for thefictionsdelivered down concerning tlie Oi marra, who 
are reputed the authors of tlie music) e::actly correspond with the 
rntions of the nortlyern nations, concernieg their ilira;, or godde.-scs 
of(4eath. Of all the names in tliis episode, tlierc is none of a Galic 
originnl. except Slrine-riona, wliich signifies, the strife of heroes. 

e 'i'hc Cana is a certain kind of >;rass, v/liicn grows plentifully in 
the heathy morasses of tiie north. Its stalk is of the reedy kind, and 
it carries a tuft of down very much resembling cotton. It is exces- 
siv'ely white, and, tonfjetjuently, often introduced by the bards, i^ 
their similie.) concerning the Jjeauty of women. 

A f>OEMr. 239 

foam of the rolling ocean. Her eyes were two stars of 
light; her face was heaven's bow in showers; her dark 
hiiir riov/ed round it, like the streaming clouds. Thou 
wcrt thj dweller of souls, wliite-handed Strina-dona ! 

Col-gorm ca:ne m his ship, and Corcul-suran, king of 
shells. The orothers came, from I-thorno, to woo die 
sun-beam of Tor-moth's Isle. She saw them in their e- 
chomgsteel. Her soul was fixedon blue-eyed Col-gorm. 
Ul-lochhn's'' nightly eye looked in, and saw the tossing 
arms of Strina-dona. 

Wrathful the brothers frowned. Their flaming eyes 
in silence met. Tiiey turned away. T'hey struck their 
sliields. Tneir hands were trembling on their swords. 
They rushed into the strife of' heroes, for long-haired 

Corcul-suran fell in blood. On his isle, raged the 
strength of his father. He turned Col-gorm from l- 
thorno, to wander on all the winds. In Crathmo-crau- 
lo's rocky field, he dwelt, by a foreign stream. Nor 
darkened the king alone, that beam of light was near, 
the daughter of echoing Tormoth, white-armed Strina- 
dona i. 

f Ul-lochlin, tlie guide to Lochlin; the name of a star. 

g The continuation of this epi-ode is juit now in my hands: but 
the language is so dilTercnt from, and tlic ideas so unworthy of Ossiaa 
tUat 1 have rejected it, as an intcrpokiion by a modern batd. 




Ossian, after some j^enftral rejection'!, describes the slfuation of Fiil- 
gal, ami tlie position of the army of Lochlin. 'Ihe conversation 
of Starnoand Swaran. The episode of Cromar-trunav and Foi- 
jar-biai'al. Starno, frcwn bis own example, recommends to Swa- 
rnn, to .surprise Fingal, who liad retired alone to sl neighbouring 
IvW. Vpnn Swaran's refusal, Starno undertakes the enterprise 
himself isovercome, and taken prisoner, by Fingal. He is cismiiS- 
ed, dCter a severe reprimand for his cruelty. 


TTJ'hence is the stream of years ? Whither do they 
V V roll along : Where have t.hey hid, ia mist, their 
many coloured sides ? I look into the times of old, but 
they seem dim to Ossian's eyes, like reflected moon- 
beams, on a distant lake. Here rise the red beams of 
war ! There, silent, dwells a feeble race ! They mark, 
no years with their deeds, as slow they pass along. 
Dweller between the shields ; thou that awakest the 
failing soul, descend from thy wall, harp of Cona, with 
thy voices three ! Come wi{h that which kindles the 
past : rear the forms of old, on their dark-brov/n years ! 
U-thorna ', hill of storms, I behold thy race on thy 

a The bards, who were il ways ready to strpply what they thought 
deficient in the poems of Ossian, have inserted a great many inci- 
denr.s between the second and third Duan of Cath-loda. Their in- 
terpolations are "io ea^ily distins^uished from the genuine remains of 
Oi.sian, that ft took me very little time to mark them out, and total- 
ly to reject them. If the modern Scot"; and bards, have shown 
any judgment, it is in ascribing their own compositions to names of 
an-.itjuitv. for, by that means, they themselves have escaped that 
<mnten-,pt, which the authors of such futile performances must ne- 
ce>^sarily, have met with, from people of a true taste- I was led in- 
to this observation, by an Irisli poem, just nou- before me. It con- 
cerns a descent made by Swaran, king of Locnlin, on Trelwd. and b 
tl'e werk, says the preface preii^d :c it, of Cbii*!} .Mas- 

A POEM. 241 

Side. Fingal is bending, in night, ovei* Duth-maruno's 
tomb. Near him are the steps of his heroes, hunters 
of the boar. By Turthor's stream the host of Lochhn 
is deep in shades. The wrathful kings stood on two 
hills ; they looked forward from their bossy shields. 
They looked forward on the stains of night, red-wan- 
dering in the west. Cruth-loda bends from high, like a 
formless meteor in clouds. He sends abroad the winds, 
and marks them, with his signs. Starno foresaw, that 
Mon en's king v/irs never to yield in war. 

He twice struck the tree in wrath. He rushed before 
Ills son. He liummed a surly song; and heard his hair 
in wind. Turned from one another, they stood, like 
two oaks, which different winds had bent ; each hangs 
over its own loud rill, and shakes its boughs, in the 
course of blasts. 

" Annir," said Starno of lakes, " was a fire that con- 
sumed of old. He poured death from his eyes, along the 
striving fields. His joy was in the fiill of men. Blood 
to him, was a summer stream, that brings joy to wi- 
thered vales, from its own mossy rock. He came fortJi 
to the lake Ludi-cormo, to meet the tall Corman-tru- 
nar, he from Urlorof streams,dwellerof battle'swing.'* 

The chief of Urlor had come to Cormul with his 
dark-bosomed ships; he saw the daughter of Annir, 
wliite-armed Foinar-bragal. He saw her : nor careless 

fion. It however appears, from several p5ous ejaculations, that it 
was rather the compoiition of some gooil priest, in the fifteenth or 
sixteenth century, for he speaks, with great devotion, of pilg- image, 
and more particularly, of the bhie-eyed daughters of the convent. 
Religious, however, as this poet was, he was not altogether drcent, 
in the sceno he introduces between Swaran and t!ie wife of Cong- 
cullion, both of wtiom he represents as giants. It happening unfor- 
tunately, that Congcullion was only of a moderate stature, his wifo, 
without hesitation, preferred Svvaran, as a more adequate :r itch for 
lierown gigantic size. From the fatal preference proceeded so much 
mischief, that the pood poet altogether lost fight of his principal ac- 
tion, and he ends the piece, with an advice to men, in rhe choice of 
their wives, which, however good i: ir.ay iie, 2 sliili i?3 vc c?;::eiled 
in the obscurity cf tl;e origir.a!. 

Vol. H. X 

24-2 cath-loda: 

rolled her eyes, on the rider of stormy waves. She 
fled to his ship in darkness, hke a moon-beam through 
a nightly vale. Annir pursuedalong the deep ; he call- 
ed the v/inds cf heaven. Nor alone was the king ; 
Starno was by his side.'Like U-thorno's young eagle, 
I turned my eyes on my father. 

We came to roaring Urlor. With his people came 
tall Corman-trunar. We fought ; but the foe prevail- 
ed. In his wrath stood Annir of lakes. He lopped 
the young trees, with his sword. His eyes rolled red in 
his rage. I marked the soul of the king, and I retired 
in night. From the field I took a broken helmet : a 
shield that was pierced with steel : poindess was the 
fper.r in my hand, I v/ent to fmd the foe. 

On a rock sat tall Corman-trunar, beside his burning 
oak, and near him, beneath a tree, sat deep-bosomed 
Foinar-bragal. I threvv^ my broken shield before her ; 
p.nd spoke tlie v/ords of peace. Beside his roiling sea, 
lies Annir of many lakes. The king was pierced in 
battle ; and Scarno is to raise his tomb. Me, a son of 
Loda, he sends to white-handed Foinar-bragal, to bid 
her send a lock from her hair, to rest with her father, 
in earth. And thou king of roaring Urlor, let the bat- 
tle cease, till Annir receive the shell, from fierv-cyed ^ 

Bursting into tears, she rose, and tore a lock from 
her hair ; a lock, which wandered in the blast, along 
her heaving breabt; Corman-trunar gave the shell ; and 
h.ade me to rejoice before him. I rested in the shade 
of night ; and hid my face in my helmet deep. Sleep 
descended on the foe. I rose, like a stalking ghost. 
J pierced the side of Cornian-tninar. Nor did Foinar- 
bragal escape. She rolled her white bosom in blood. 
Why tlien daughter of lierocs, didst thou v/ake my 
rage : I.Iorning rose. -The foe v/cre Hed, like the de- 
parture of r:ist. Annir struck his bossy shield. He 
called his dark-haired son, I came, streaked with wan- 
dering blood : thrice rose tlie shout of the king, like the 
bursting forth of a 5nu:tll of v/ind, from a cloud, by 

A POEM. 243 

night. We rejoiced three days above tJie dead, and 
called die hawks of heaven. They came, from all their 
winds, to feast on Annir's foes. Swaran ! Fingal is a- 
lone, on his hill of night. Let thy spear pi>rce die 
king in bccret ; like Annir, my soul shall rejoice. 

" Sen of Annir of Gormal, Sv/aran shall not slay in 
shades. I move forth in light : tlie hav/ks rush from 
all their winds. They are wont to trace my course : 
it is not harmless through war.'* 

Burning rose the rage of the king. He thrice raised 
his gleaming spear. But starting, he spared his son ; 
and rushed into the night. By Turthor's stream a cave 
is dark, the dwelling of Conban-cargLis. There he laid 
the helmet of lungs, and called the maid of Lulan, but 
she was distant far, in Loda's resounding hall. 

Swelling with rage, he strode to where Fingal lay a- 
lone. The king was laid on his siiield, on his own se- 
cret hill. Stern hunter of shaggy boars, no fecbb miiid 
Is laid before ihce : no bay, on his ferny bed, by Tur- 
thor's murmuring stream. Here is spread the couch oF 
the mighty, from which they rise to deeds of deatii. 
Hunter of shaggy boars, awaken not the terrible. 

Starno came murmuring on. Fingal arose in arms. 
*' Who art thou, son of night ?" Silent he threw the 
spear. Tiiey mixed their gloomy strife. The shield of 
Starno fell, cleft in twain. He is bound to an cak. The 
early beam arose. Then Fingal beheld the king of Gor- 
mal. He rolled a while his silent eyes. He thought of o- 
ther days, when whi:e-bosomed Agandecca moY^d hks ' 
the music cf songs. He loosed the thong from Lis 
hands. Son of Annir, he said, retire. R.etire to Gor- 
mal of shells : a b£a.m that v/as set returns. I remem- 
ber thy white-bosomed daughter ; dreadful king, away J 
Go to thy troubled dv/elhng, cloudy foe cf the lov:^- 
lyl Let the stranger shun thee, tiiOV. glocniy iu tk^ 
hall ! 

A TALE of the times o^ old [ 



After an address to Malvina, the daughter of Topcar, Ossian proceeds 
to relate his own expedition to Fuarfcd, an island of Scandinavia; 
Mai orchol, king c.f Fuarfed, being Iiard pressed in war, by Ton- 
thormod, chief of Sar-dronlo, wlio had demanded, in vain, the 
daughter of Mal-orchol in marriage) Fingal Si-nt Ossian to his aid. 
Ossian, on tiie day after his arii/al, came to battle vvithTon-thor- 
mod, and took him prisoner. Mai orclio; oIRrs his daughter Oina- 
morul to Ossian ; but he, discovering lier passion for Ton thor- 
mod, generously surrenders her to her lover, and brings about a 
reconciliation between the two kings. 

AS flies the inconstant sun over Larmon*s grassy 
hill ; so pass the tales of old, aiong my soul, by 
night. When bards are removed to their place ; when 
harps are hung in Selma's hall ; then comes a voice to 
Ossian, and awakes his soul. It is the voice of yeai'S 
that are gone : they roll before me, with all their deeds. 
I seize the tales, as they pass, and pour them forth in 
song. Nor a troubled stream is the soul of the king. 
It is like the rising of music from Lutha of the strings. 
Lutha of many strings, not silent are thy streamy rocks, 
Vv^hen the white liands of Malvina move upon the harp, 
light of the shadov/y thoughts, that fly across my soul, 
daughter of Toscar of helmets, wilt thou not hear the 
song ! We call back, maid of Lutlia, the years that have 
rolled away ! 

It vv'as in the days of the king % while yet my locks 
were young, that I marked Con-cathlin i^, on high 

a Fingal. 

b Con-cathlin, ' mild beam of the wave ' What star was so calh 
ed ef old is not easily ascertained. Some now distinguish the pole 
st'.r by that name. A song, which is still in repute, among the sea 
fariig part of the Highlanders, alludes to this passage of Ossian. The 
.vithor commends the knowledge of Ossian in sea affairs, a merit 
V Wich, perhaps, few of us raodsins will allow him, or any in the aj^ff 

A POEM. 24/> 

from oce»n*s nightly wave. My course was towards 
the isle of Fuarfed, woody dweller of seas. Fingal had 
sent me to the aid of Mal-orchol, king of Fuarfed wild : 
for war was around him, and our fathers had met at 
the feast. 

In Col-coiled, I bound my sails, and sent my sword to 
Mal-orchol of shells. He knew the signal of Albion, 
and his joy arose. He came from his own high haii, 
and seized my hand in grief. " Why comes the race, 
of heroes to a failing king ? Ton-thormod of many 
spears is die chief of wavy Sar-dronlo. He saw and 
loved my daugliter, white-bosomed Oina-morul. He 
sought : I denied the maid ; for our fathers had been 
foes. He came, with battle, to Fuarfed. My peoplo- 
are rolled away. Why comes the race of heroes to a 
falling king r" 

I come not, I said, to look, like a boy, on the strife. 
Fingal remembers I'.ral-orchol, and his hall for stran- 
gers. From his waves, the warrior descended, on thy 
woody isle. Thou wert no cloud before him. Thy 
feast was spread with songs. For tins my sword shall 
rise ; and thy foes perhaps may fail. Our friends are 
not forgot in their danger, though distant is our land. 

" Son of the daring Trenm.or, thy words are like the 
Tcice of Criith-loda, when he speaks, from his parting- 
cloud, strong dweller of the sky ! jMany have rejoiced 
at my feast ; but they all have forgot Mal-orchol. I 
have looked tov/ards all the winds, but no white sails 
were seen. But steel ^ resounds in my hall ; and not 

in which be lived. One thinj; is certain, that the CaleJonians of;£U 
madethejrway throiigli thedangercu-sand tempeb u usse.vof Scan- 
tlinavia, which is move, pfhaps, tf an the rr.ore poiishai np.ticn , 
iubsistinj; .'n those fmcs, daied to venture Ji; esriiDating tlie d" 
pree of knowL'dge of arts am .nig the ancients, we ought not to faring 
it into compariso i wi'h the improvements of modern time . 
Our advantages over them proceed more from accident, than any 
merit of ours. 

c Til ere is a severe satire couched in th's expression, against the 
fuests of Mal-orchol. Had liis feast been still spread, had joy cct j 
tiniiv (i in his hsU, his foimer parasites would not fail to rcsert t& hln,^ 

246 oina-morul: 

the joyful shells. Come to my dwelling, race of he- 
roes ; dark-skirted night is near. Hear the voice of 
songs, from the maid o[ Fuarfed wild." 

We w^ent. On the harp arose the white hands of Oi- 
na-morul. She waked her own sad tale, from every 
trembling string. 1 stood in silence ; for bright in her 
locks was the daughter of many isles. Her eyes were 
like two stars, looking forward through a rushing show- 
er. The" manner marks them on high, and blesses the 
lovely beams. With morning we rushed to battle, to 
Tormul's resounding stream ; the foe moved to the 
sound of Ton-thormod's bossy shield. From wing to 
wing the strife v/as mixed. I met the chief of Sar- 
dronlo. Wide flew his broken steel. I seized the king 
in fight. I gave his hand bound fast with thongs, to^ 
Mal-orchol, the giver of shells. Joy rose at the feast of 
Fuarfed, for the foe had failed. Ton-thormod turned 
his face a^av, from Oina-morul of isles. 

" Son of Fingal," begun'Mal-orchol, "not forgot 
shaltthcu pass from me. A light shall dwell in thy ship. 
Oina-morul of slovz-rolling eyes. She shall kindle glad- 
ness, along thy mighty soul. Nor unheeded shall the 
maid move in Selma, through the dwelling of kings." 

In the hall I lay in night. Mine eyes were half clos- 
ed in sleep. Soft music came to mine ear; it was like 
the rising breeze, tliat whirls, at firstjthe thistle's beard 

But as the time of festivity was pa?t, their attendance also ceased. 
■rTfcsertimcntsof a certain old bard are ar:rceable to this observa- 
tion. Ke poetically con-'.par^s a great man to a kindled in a de- 
r-ert place. " Those that pay court to him, fays he, are rolling larpe 
r.Tound him, like the .M-noke about the fire. This smoke gives the 
f;re a great appearance at a diyfance, but it is an en^pty vapour itself, 
and varying its form at every ;)rceze. When the trunk v.-hich fed 
tiie fire is consumed, the smoke departs on all the winds. So the 
flatterers forsake their chief, vv'hen his pov.-er declines." 1 have cho- 
sen to pive a paraphrase, rather than a translation, of this passage, 
cs the original is verbose and frothy, notwithstanding of the senti- 
mental merit of the author. He was one of the less ancient bards, 
.nnd their conr.positions are not nervov.s enough to bear a literal tr^jis- 

A POEM. 2-17 

then file?, dark-shadowy, over the grass. It v/as the 
maid of Fuarfed wild : she riiiscd the nightly song; foi- 
she knew that my soul was a stream, that flowed at 
pleasant sounds. 

" Who looks," she said, " from his rock, on ocean's 
closing mist ? His long locks, like the raven's wing, are 
wandering on the blast. Stately are his steps in grief. 
The tears are in his eyes. Kis manly breast is heavin'f^ 
over his bursting soul. Retire, I am distant far; a wan- 
derer in lands unknown. Though the race of kings 
are around me, yet my soul is dark. Why have our 
fathers been foes, Ton-thormod, love of maids !/' 

" Soft voice of the streamy isle, whydost thou mourn 
by night ? The race of daring Trenmor are not the 
dark in soul. Thou shait not v/ander by streams un- 
knov/n, blue-eyed Oina-moral. Within this bosom is 
a voice ; it comes not to other ears ; it bids Ossian hear 
the hapless in their hour of wo. Retire, sof;. singer by 
night ! Ton-thormod shall not mourn on his rock." 

With morning I loosed the King. I gave the long- 
haired maid. Mal-orchol heard my words, in the 
midst of his echoing halls. " King of Fuarfed wild, 
why should Ton-thormod mourn ? He is of the ract of 
heroes, and a flame in vv^ar. Your fathers liave been 
foes, but now their dim ghosts rejoice in death. They 
stretch their arms of mist to the same shell in Loda. 
Forget their rage, ye warriors ! It was the cloud of o- 
ther years." ^ _ y 

Such v/ere the deeds of Ossian, while yet his locks 
were young : though loveliness, with a robe of beams, 
clothed the daughter of many isles. We call back, 
maid of Lutha, the years that have rolled away ! 



^rgal dispatches Oss'an and To^car, to raice a stone, on the banks 
of the stream of Crona, to perpetuate tlie memory of a victory, 
•which he had obtained in that place, \yiien they were employ- 
ed in that work, Car-ul, a neigiibouring chief, invited them to a 
feast. They went; and Tobcar fell desperately in love with Col- 
na dona, the daughter of Car-ul. Colna-dona became no less ena- 
moured of Tos(;ar. Au incident, at a hunting party, brings their 
loves to a happy issue. 

COL-AMON a of troubled streams, dark wanderer of 
distant vales, I behold thy course, between trees, 
rear Car-ul's echoing halls. There dwelt bright Col- 
na-dona, the daughter of the king. Her eyes were rol- 
ling stars ; her arms were white as the foam of streams. 
Her breast rose slowly to sight, like ocean's heaving 
wave. Her soul was a stream of light. Who, among 
the m.aids, was like the jove of heroes ? 
Beneath tlie voice of the king, wenaoved to Crona b 

a Co'na-dona signifies the love of heroes. Col-amon, « narrow- 
river.' Car-ul, ' dark eyes.' Col-amon, the residence of Car-ul, 
■was in the neighbourhood of Agricola's wall, towards the south. 
Car-ul seems to have been of the race of those Britons distinguished 
by the name of Maiata:, by the writers of Rome. Maiatje is deriv- 
ed from two Galic vjr.rds, ' Moi.' a plain, and ' Aitich,' inhabitants ; 
.•>o that the signification of Maiats: is, the inliabitants of the plain 
'country 5 a name given to tl^e Piitons who were settled in the Low- 
ffands, in cor.tradiitinction to tiie Caledonians, (i. e. ' Cael don,' the 
Gauls of the hills) v/ho were possest of th.e more mountainous divi- 
sion of North Britain. 

b Crona, ' murmuring,' was the name of a small stream, which 
#:schnrj;cd iC4clf into the river Cavron. It is often mentioned by Os- 
jjian, and the scenes of many cf his poems are on its banks. The 
rneni->s, whom Fingal defeated here, are not mentioned. 1 hey 
V/ere, probably, the provincial Britons. 'I hat tract of country be- 
tween the Friths of Forth and Clyde has been, th'-nngh all antiquity, 
Cinjcus iKjT Liatties and rencounters, 'oetv.een the dlUerent natioi^ 

A POEM. 249 

©f the streams, Toscar of grassy Lutha, and Ossian, 
young in fields. Three bards attended with songs. 
Three bossy shields were borne before us : for we were 
to rear the stone, in memory of the past. By Crona's 
mossy course Fingal had scattered his foes : he had roll- 
ed away the strangers, like a troubled sea. We came 
to the place of renown : from the mountains descended 
night. I tore an oak from its hill, and raised a flame 
on high. I bade my fathers to look doum, from the 
clouds of their hall ; for, at the fame of their race, they 
brighten in the \Wnd. 

I took a stone from the stream, amidst the song of 
bards. The blood of Fingal's foes hung curdled in its 
ooze. Beneath, I placed, at intervals, three bosses from 
the shield of foes, as rose or fell the sound of Ullin's 
nightly song. Toscar laid a dagger in earth, a mail of 
sounding steel. We raised the mould around the stone, 
and bade it speak to other years. 

Oozy daughter of streams, that now art reared on 
high, speak to the feeble, O stone, after Seima's race 
have failed ! Prone, from the stormy night, the travel- 
ler shall lay him, by thy side: thy whistling moss shall 
sound in his dreams ; the years that were past shall re- 
turn. Batdes rise before him, blue-shielded kings de- 
scend to war : the darkened moon looks from heaven, 
on the troubled field. He shall burst, with morning, 
from dreams, and see the tombs of wr.rriors round. He 
shall ask about the stone, and die aged wiii reply, "This 
grey stone was raised by Ossian,achief of other vears.'* 

Fromc Col-amon came a bard, from Car-'ui, die 

wlio were possessed of North and South Britain. Stirling, a town si- 
tuated there, derives its name from that very circumstance. It Ls a 
corruption of the Galic name ' Strila,' i. e. tlie hill, oriock of co»- 

c The manners of the Britons and Caledonlaas were so similar in 
the days of Ossian, that there can be no doubt, tl'.ey were origi- 
nally the same people, and descended from tho^e Gauls who first 
possessed themselves of South Britain, and gradually migrated to 
the nortK. This hypothesis is more rational thaA the idk lablcs «f 


friend of strangers. He bade us to the feast cf kings, 
to the dwelling of bright Colna-dcna. We went to the 
hall of harps. There Car-iil brightened between his 
Hged Ioci<.s, when he beheld the sons of his friends^ 
like two young trees with their leaves. 

" Sons of the mighty," he said, " ye bring back the 
days of old, when first I descended from waves, on 
Selma'sstreamyvale. I pursued Duth-mocarglcs, dwel- 
ler of Ocean's wind. Our fathers had been foes, we 
met by Clutha's winding waters. He fled, along the 
sea, and my sails were spread behind him. Night de- 
ceived me, on the deep. I came to the dwelling of 
kings, to Selma of high-bosomed maids. Fingai came 
forth with his bards, and Conloch, arm of death. I 
feasted three days in the h.all, and saw the blue eyes of 
Erin, Ros-crana, daughter of heroes, light of Cormac's 
race. Nor forgot did my steps depart : the kings gave 
their shields to Car-ul: theyhang,on high, in Colamon, 
in memory of the past. Son- of the daring kings, ye 
bring back the days of old." 

Car-ul placed the oak offcasts. He took two bos- 
ses from our shields. He laid them in earth, beneath a 
stone, to speak to the hero'sTace. " When battle (said 
the king) shall roar, and our sons are to mectin wrath; 
my race shall look, perhaps, on this stone, when they 
prepare the spear. Have not our fathers met in peace, 
they will say, and lay aside the shield ?" 

Night cam.e down. In her long locks moved the 

ill-inforn-ied senachic!, who bring the Cakdorians from distant coun- 
tries. The bare opinion of Tacitus (wiiicli, by the bye, was only 
founded en a similarity of the personal Sgure of the to 
the Gemir.ns cf h.i.s own time) thonph it has staggered some learned 
men, is not hufiicient to make us believe, tliat the ancient inhabitants 
of North Britain were a German colony. A discussion of a point like 
thi? might be curious, but could never be satisfactory. Periods so 
distant are so involved in obscurity, that nothing certain can now 
• Le advanced concerning them. The light which the Roman writ- 
ers hold forth is too feeble to guide us to the truth, through the 
darkness wliich fias surrounded it. 

•» A POEM. 251 

daughter of Car-ul. Mixed with the harp arose the 
voice of white-armed Colna-dona. Toscar darkened 
in his place, before the love of heroes. She came on 
his troubled soul, like a beam to the dark-heaving o- 
cean : when it bursts from a cloud, and brightens the 
foamy side of a wave ^. 

With morning we awaked the woods ; and hung 
forward on the path of roes. They fell by their wont- 
ed streams. We returned through Crona's vale. From 
the wood a youth came forward, with a shield and 
pointless spear. " Whence, said Toscar of Lutha, is 
the flying beam ? Dwells there peace at CoJ-anion, 
round bright Colna-dona of harps ?" 

" By Col-amon of streams," said the youth, " bright 
Colna-dona dv/elt. She dwelt ; but her course is now 
in deserts, with the son of the king ; he that seized 
her soul as it Avandered through the hall." 

" Stranger of tales," said Toscar," hast thou mark- 
ed the warrior's course ? He must fall ; give thou that 
bossy shield ! In v/rath he took the shield. Fair behind 
it heaved the breast of a maid, white as the bosom of a 
sv/an, rising on swift-rolling waves. It was Colna-do- 
na of harps, the daughter of the king, her blue eyes had 
rolled on Toscar, and her love arose. 

d Here an episode is entirely lost; or at least, is handed down sp 
-imperfectly, that it does not deserve a place in the poem. 



One cf the fr.ijrmer.ts of Ancient Poetry lately puhlislied, gives a dif- 
ferenc accou::t of tlie death of Oscar the son of Os^ian. 'I he 
translator, th.oiigh he well knew the more probable traditions con- 
cerning that hero, was unwilling to reject a poem, whicii.ifnct 
really of Ossian's composition, has much of his manner, and con- 
eise turn of expression. A more correct copy of that fragment, 
which has siiice come into the translator'.' hands, has enabled I'.im 
to correct the mistake, into which a similarity of names had led 
those who handed down the poem by tradition. The heroes of 
the piece are Oscar the son of Carutli, and Dermid thcsonof nia- 
ran. Ossiaii, or perhaps his imitator, opens the poem with a ia- 
irentation for Oscar, and afterwards, by an easy transition, re- 
cites th^ story of Oscar the son of Caruth, wlio seems to liave borne 
the same character, as well as name, with 0^car the son of Ossian. 
ThoHgh the translator thinks he has good reason to reject tVie 
fjagment as tlie composition of Ossian, yet as it is, after all, stili 
soinewliat doubtful whether it is or not, he has subjoined it. 

'ITT'hy openest thou afresh the spring of my grief, 
* V O son of AIpin,"inquiring how Oscar fell i My 
eyes are blind with tears ; but memory beams on my 
heart. How can I relate the mcumml death of the 
head of the people ! Chief of the warriors, Oscar, my 
son, shall I see thee no more ! 

He fell as the moon in a storm ; as the sun from the 
midst of his course, when clouds rise from the waste of 
the waves, when the blackness of the storm inwraps the 
rocks of Ardannider. I, like an ancient oak on Morven, 
I moulder alone in my place. The blast hath lopped 
my branches away : and I tremble at the wings of the 
north. Chief of the warriors, Oscar, my son ! shall 
I see thee no more ! 

But, son of Alpln, the hero fell not harmless as the 
grass of the field ; the blood of the mighty was on his 
sword, and he travelled with death through the ranks 
•f their pride. But Oscar, thou son of Curuth, thou 

hast fallen low ? No enemy fell by thy hand. Thy 
spear was stained with the blood of thy friend. 

Dermid and Oscar were one : They reaped the bat-* 
tie together. Their friendship was strong as their steel; 
arfd death walked between them to the iield. They 
came on the foe like two rocks falling from tlie brows 
of Ardven. Their swords were stained with the blood 
of the valiant : warriors fainted at their names. Who 
was equal to Oscar, but Dermid? and who to Dermid, 
but Oscar ? 

Thev killed mighty Dardo in the field; Dargo who 
never fled in war. His daughter was fair as the morn ; 
mild as the beam of night. Her eyes, like two stars 
in a shower ; her breath the gale of spring : her breasts 
-as the new fillen snow, floating on the moving heathy 
The warriors saw her, and loved; their souls were fix- 
ed on the maid. Each loved her as his fame ; each 
must possess her or die. But her soul was fixed on Os- 
car ; the son of Caruth was the youth of her love. She 
forgot the blood of her father; and loved the hand that 
slew him. 

Son of Caruth, said Dermid, I love ; O Oscar, I love 
this maid. But her soul cleaveth unto thee ; and no- 
thing can heal Dermid. Here, pierce this bosom, Os- 
car, relieve me, my friend, with thy sv/ord. 

My sword, sonof Diaran, shall never be stained with. 
the blood of Dermid. 

Who then is worthy to slay me, O Oscar, son of Ca- 
ruth ? Let not my hfe pass away unknown. Let none 
but Oscar slay me. Send me with honour to the grave, 
and let my death be renowned. 

Dermid, make use ofthv sword; son of Diaran wield 
thy steel. Would that I fell with thee ! that my death 
carne fi-om tlie hand of Dermid ! 

They fought by the brook of the mountain, by tlie 
streams of Branno. Blood tinged the nmning water, 
and curdled round the mossy stones. The stately Der- 
mid fell ; he fell, and smiled in death. 

And falkst thou, son of Diaran, fallest thou by Os- 


car's hand I Dermid, who never yielded in w^.r, thus 
do I see thee fall ! He went, and returned to the maid 
of his love ; he returned, but she perceived his grief. 
Why that gbom, son of Carath ? what shades thy 
mighty soul ? 

Though once renov/ned for the bow, O maid, I have 
lost ir.y fame. Fixed on a tree, by the brook of the hill, 
is the shield of the valiant Gormur, whom I slew in bat- 
tle. I have wasted the day in vain, nor could my ar- 
row pi.rcc It. 

Let me try, son of Caruth,theskillofDargo's daugh- 
ter. My hands were taught the bow : my father de- 
lighted in my skill. _ ' 

""she v/ent. ' Ke stood behind the shield. Ker arrow 
fievv^ and pierced his breast. 

Blessed be that hand of snovs^ ; and blessed that bow 
of vev/ ! Who but the daughter of Dargo was worthy 
to slay the son of Caruth ? Lay me. in the earth, m^'^fair 
one ; lay me by the side of Dermid. 

Oscar 1 the maid replied, 1 have the soul of the rriigh- 
ty Dargo. Well pleased I can meet death. My sorrov/ 
1 can end. She pierced her white bosom wi.h the steel. 
She fell ; she trembled ; and died. 

Bythe brookcf the hill their graves arc laid ; a birch's 

unequal shade covers their tomb. Often on their green 

earthen tombs, the branchy sons of the mountain feed, 

Vv'hen mid-dav is all in iiames, and silence over all the